Customer Experience in the Energy and Utilities Industry

Current state of customer-centricity in the energy & utilities industry

Customer expectations are always evolving and changing. Even in an industry as traditional as the energy and utilities industry, customers now expect seamless digital experiences akin to the standards set by the retailing, travel and hospitality industries. Due to poor customer service, unexplained price increases, and hidden costs, the energy and utilities industry is witnessing a surge in customers who are switching companies.  Customers not only have increasing expectations they are also more aware of the choices they have. Under these circumstances, the energy and utilities industry need to adopt a customer-centric approach and identify ways through which they can build positive customer experiences.

Why companies in the energy and utilities industry should focus on customer experience

Customers expectations have also evolved and they now hold centre-stage under new market conditions. The key factors that have driven these changes are:

  • Customers are digital natives: The popularity of social media and the rise of mobile connectivity has made the customers increasingly vocal on digital. Any sentiment, positive or negative, can draw attention and reach millions within a short period.
  • Customers are now empowered than ever before: Customers have access to quick information and have a plethora of options available to choose from making it easy for them to switch to another company even if the experience is slightly different from what they expect.

To be successful, companies need to be obsessed about providing an exceptional customer experience. At an age where attracting and retaining new customers is turning out to be expensive for energy and utilities companies, customer centricity is proving to be the key differentiator.

A study done by Echo Managed Services found that 34% of consumers in the UK regularly switch utilities providers. This means that regions with more than one utilities company see a lot of churn and end up spending more money to attract new customers.

How energy and utilities companies can improve customer-centricity

To attain seamless customer experience and reduce churn rates, energy & utilities companies need to adopt strategies that can improve customer-centricity. Here are a few strategies that can be adopted:

1. Omnichannel Experience

Customers want more control over how they are contacted and want multiple channels to interact with the company. Identifying all possible customer touchpoints is the first step towards providing omnichannel support. Once the communication channels are identified, companies should establish consistent integration with support systems across all channels. To ensure seamless end-user experience for the customers, companies should also provide a consistent experience across all channels.

2. Integration of Social Media

Energy & Utilities Companies can leverage the power of social media to engage its customers and provide a better customer experience. A smooth digital customer experience can be attained through a comprehensive, customized and flexible social media integration strategy.

Many Energy & Utilities Companies have ventured into this space to discuss energy conservation and efficiency, customer education, branding and promotion, and to provide updates. Social media is gaining acceptance as a viable means of delivering vital communications, customer service issues and promotional offers.

Social media for improving customer experience in the energy and utilities industry

Source: Cognizant

3. Digital Operations

By digitizing operations, energy and utilities companies can enhance operations by improving operational efficiency and customer-centricity. As customers are moving towards smart homes powered by IoT and home automation, energy companies can further enhance the digital experience by integrating and sharing data with the customers. With the help of smart meters and built-in analytics systems, energy providers can empower customers by allowing them to monitor and control their energy usage. Companies can also leverage the data collected by providing personalized insights and recommendations to their customers.

4. Adoption of Latest Technologies

Energy and utilities industry have historically been viewed as a conservative industry. However, today, we see utilities companies adopting new technologies such as smart grid solutions and Internet-of-Things (IoT). Technologies such as Big data analytics and predictive analytics will help companies to segment users to provide personalized services to their customers. With mobile apps and geolocation analytics, utilities companies can provide real-time usage, payments, value-added services and other notifications.

Adopting customer-centric technologies and understanding individual user needs is the key towards attracting and retaining customers in the energy industry. Energy and utilities companies have to ensure that they make a positive impact at every touchpoint of a customer interaction – from onboarding, to delivery and customer service.

Utilities companies are now investing more in CX teams and technologies built specially for the industry. Understanding individual customer behaviour, providing real-time updates and creating a consistent experience across multiple channels is helping companies to delight their customers. The more transparent they are with their customers, the better their chances are of retaining them.

Smartify 365 for the Energy & Utilities Industry

Smartify 365 solution focused on the energy and utilities industry, provides a platform for integrating your operations and technology thereby enhancing your organization’s productivity and reduce downtime. We support your workforce by equipping them with the right tools, extract hidden value and uncover new revenue streams.

With advanced AI-driven customer engagement features such as customer insights, customer trend analysis, 360-degree customer view and proactive multi-channel support, Smartify 365 ensures delivery of operational excellence alongside intelligent sales.

Get Your Business Smartified Now

Schedule a demo to find out how you can improve customer experience with Smartify 365.

3 Reasons Why You Should Use Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights

The digital era has empowered customers more than ever before. With an entire universe of options ready to open at the tap of a fingertip, customers need much more than promo codes or coupons to be lured into buying your product or service and being loyal to you in the years to come. Meeting or retaining high levels of customer satisfaction today requires complex systems that understand customer behavior, purchase patterns, service levels, resolution times, and the like. Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights fits the bills with its varied features and functionalities that power seamless, end-to-end customer experiences. The tool offers insights into critical performance metrics, operational data, and emerging trends from customer service systems to help you take actions on time when they matter. Here’s unraveling three important features of Customer Service Insights that make it a must-have for businesses.

# 1 – AI-Powered Clustering Of Customer Case Topics

Grouping customer cases of the same kind can be a humongous task when performed manually. Not to mention the countless hours required to compile the data, the additional burden it places on the customer service workforce, increased costs, and a higher probability of inaccuracies or errors. Topic clustering features built into Customer Service Insights simplifies the process by using artificial intelligence and natural language processing to automatically parse case titles and determine semantically similar cases. All this without user intervention. The model also equips users with finer controls to remove common tags and prefixes from case titles, so that only the most relevant part is used for clustering.

# 2 – Out-Of-Box Dashboards

Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights is built with a number of out-of-the-box dashboards that bring together traditional BI metrics, AI-derived topics, and KPIs. The feature helps customer service managers focus on areas that matter the most. The current version of Customer Service Insights includes dashboards for KPI Summary, New Cases, Customer Satisfaction and Resolutions. These dashboards are designed to help you identify areas of improvement through evaluation of the positive and negative impact of support cases on system performance, resolution time and agent performance, customer feedback, and system support on different channels. Each of the dashboards can be further expanded into topics and drilled down further to review how the specific case topic impacts CSAT and other key metrics. What’s more, these BI-powered dashboards are interactive and on right-clicking, provide dedicated analytics for these topics within dashboards created for them.

# 3 – Better-Together Solutions Across Customer Service

Customer Service Insights is designed to access and import case data from the Common Data Service (CDS). By default, it fetches records created by Dynamics 365. This, however, is no deterrent to businesses who are not users of the software that combines ERP and CRM under the same roof. In the absence of default data structures, the system prompts you to select the appropriate storage location for case data, thus enabling you to bring data from other case management systems use them in conjunction with Customer Service Insights, made possible by data integration capabilities within CDS.

Artificial Intelligence lies at the heart of this offering by Microsoft. Coupled with a rich set of dashboards and integration capabilities, Customer Service Insights brings to the table a holistic solution that can make a marked improvement in customer experience – one that gives a detailed picture of your customer service system while also helping you identify key areas that can have a positive impact on customer satisfaction and system performance.

Customer Service Insights has only been made generally available recently and is expected to see many more added features and integrations in the days to come.

How MS Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights Benefits Your Business

CRM may no longer be a fancy buzzword, but tools and solutions that help improve customer experiences find a renewed interest among present-day businesses for a reason. In an age of rapid digital advancements and transformations, earning customers and engaging with them continually requires systems that can keep up with the ever-changing needs, preferences, and expectations.

Enter Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights

With Artificial Intelligence (AI) woven into its backbone, Customer Service Insights functions as much more than a regular CRM tool. It automatically groups customer cases into topics to help you discover emerging trends and equip your business to adapt to them in a timely manner. The tool features a slew of rich dashboards, interactive charts, and visual filters that provide summarized as well as drill-down views into topics and cases that impact key performance indicators and customer satisfaction levels. By highlighting areas for improvement, Customer Service Insights helps you address problem areas at the earliest before they impact customer service experiences.

Switching to Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights can bring about a visible difference in the way businesses function, build and improve customer relations; all made possible through data and not guesswork. Here are three important ones.

# 1 – Enhance Customer Satisfaction

Customer Service Insights provides businesses a comprehensive understanding of issues that impact customer satisfaction scores (CSAT), thus helping you resolve critical or emerging problems before they flare-up. The AI-powered, data-driven system also makes it easy to identify opportunities that have a positive or negative impact on the business and act on them to enhance customer satisfaction. Augmenting these informed decisions are customer service charts with different views of customer feedback:

  • Average CSAT KPI Summary chart
  • Popular topics
  • Emerging topics
  • Average CSAT
  • Customer satisfaction drivers
  • Average CSAT KPI chart
  • Overall average CSAT impact chart
  • Top CSAT impactors
  • Top resolve time impactors

# 2 – Boost Operational Efficiency

Resolution of customer cases impacts not just customer satisfaction levels but also agent productivity, and in turn operational efficiency. Customer Service Insights powers businesses and helps tackle inefficiencies in the system by providing detailed insights into case resolution, backlog trends, and historical comparisons to evaluate agent performance. This help identify low-performing and high-performing agents while also monitoring case volumes and support topics to optimize agent productivity.

Customer Service Insights features the following charts to help evaluate agent performance.

  • Agents with longest average resolve time
  • Agents with most escalations
  • Agents with most unresolved cases
  • Agents with longest resolve time
  • Agents with lowest average CSAT

Additionally, the system provides resolution time charts that help you drill down into the time it takes to resolve customer cases. These include:

  • Average resolve time KPI Summary chart
  • Unresolved cases by age
  • Current popular topics
  • Emerging topics
  • Agents with longest resolve time
  • New cases versus average resolve time
  • New escalations versus resolved escalations
  • Resolution time drivers
  • Agents with longest average resolve time
  • Top CSAT impactors
  • Top resolve time impactors

# 3 – Gather Comprehensive Visibility

Be it a bird’s eye view of system performance or a drill-down view into drivers of customer satisfaction, Dynamics 365 Customer Service Insights has got businesses covered with everything that is needed for informed decision making backed by data. In addition to KPIs for customer satisfaction and case resolution, there exist insights and dashboards for support channels, which throw light on your business’ performance on various case channels such as emails, phone, web, or social media. Charts designed for this purpose include:

  • Case channel
  • Case timing
  • Average CSAT

Within this AI-powered tool lies immense capabilities that equip customer service managers with the power to make informed customer decisions, boost resolution rates, bring down wait times, and reduce customer service costs. The result – improved customer satisfaction and better workforce productivity.