This special interest group is where customer care professionals share tactics on how utilities are improving interactions with their customers. 


Customer Care: Digital Experience

Bhagvan Kommadi's picture
Founder of First Quantum Computing Startup in India, Architect Corner

Bhagvan Kommadi is the Founder of Architect Corner - AI startup and has around 20 years of experience in the industry, ranging from large-scale enterprise development to help incubate software...

  • Member since 2019
  • 14 items added with 17,818 views
  • Jul 22, 2021

This item is part of the Utility Customer Care - July 2021 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more

Energy industry has been focusing on utility related services and not on customer care. Customer care was not the important initiative till recently as customers did not have to choose a utility company.  Energy industry is the underperforming sector for customer care using digital platform.  Customer expectation was  related to personalization and customer convenience in their daily life. Recently many energy  companies are looking to digital customer care initiatives to improve customer experience.

Energy companies are streamlining their business processes to reduce costs and improve bill presentment to the customers. These enterprises are looking into smart grid  to improve the usage data collection.  Smart grid helps in sending notifications to the customer about the bill and usage trends. Utility industry has been improving customer care using smart grid in the area of bill presentment.  Customer care platform  has self service feature  which is online. Customers use self service to access bill and pay through the bank account or wallet.

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Service management team in energy enterprises  are using digital platform to manage the work and the service requests. Employees access the customer profile using the platform. Digital platform has improved the customer care and efficiencies in the utility industry. Employees collaborate to find the solutions and discuss about the problems in the field.  Smart grid solution has brought down the service requests by improving the power distribution and consumer usage. The outage problems are diagnosed using smart grid.

Digital Customer care solutions have helped the utility industries by improving customer experience and cutting down the outages. Smart grid platform has improved the efficiencies and cut down the billing errors & amount. Digital apps provided by the platform can be accessed by the customer on multi channels. IOT with Smart Grid implementations are really successful in improving the distribution and diagnosis of the outage issues in the network. Customer Care has improved because of real time alerts and notifications from this implementation.

Customer churn has come down due to the better customer care. Customer service has improved by using chatbots and digital assistants.  Customer service agents help the customers who are having real problems. Chatbots help in answering most of the frequently asked questions. Agents and marketing personnel have helped in the customer care. They focus on customer loyalty, brand engagement, value addition, and customer advocacy. Multichannel platform has features like services for email, chat, social media, sms, voice, and email and process automation in the backend to support the services.

Digitization has helped the customer care for energy industry. Customer can access the bills and profile available in the platform. Account switching and bill payment methods using wallet are the new features enabled due to the digitization. Smart grid has helped the digitization initiatives by improving the power distribution and usage collection. The other areas impacted are customer consumption tracking, customer profile management, and customer experience.

Customer journey platform helps in improving the areas of the customer care. Knowledge bases are created for customer care agents to answer the customer queries. Customer care platforms have the customer profiles and the transaction history. Customer retention is primary focus of these platforms.

Marketing platforms have used digital platforms for offer management, campaign management, account management, contract management, and customer management. Leads and opportunities are managed by the platform for conversion and tracking. Marketing platforms are omni channel in targeting campaigns to the customer. They have helped building customer relationships in the energy industry.

Customer experience platforms have helped the customer care in the energy industry.  These platforms have features such as customer surveying tools, customer journey analytics, click stream analysis,  app visitor analytics, and other metrics. These platforms have helped in designing the apps which provide consistent and personalized customer experience. They have helped in improving the customer interactions. These platforms have helped in the improvement of multichannel customer experiences. The benefits to the enterprises are in the area of cost reduction,  customer conversion, and customer satisfaction. Multi channels have helped the customers to cut down the in person visits and regular followups. Mobile apps and web have captured the usage share of 40% compared to in person and email visit around 43%. The new channels have helped in the customer care areas like problem resolution, routine or frequently asked queries resolution and account opening.

New initiatives like ideation sessions with customers, AI/ML based platforms, co-browsing based customer care platforms are emerging to improving the customer care. These platforms have capability to identify the customer and access the profile & transaction history. Customer journey redesign is another important area in the latest digital platform using the customer journey analytics across multi-channels. Customers are being engaged using digital technology in energy industry. This is the inflection point in the progression moving from products to services to customer care and new customer care using digital platform. Digital platforms are being used to target customer focused initiatives.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 28, 2021

Do you tend to see customers go all the way digital vs. pushing back on anything digital, or is the 'typical' customer one that's in the middle and engages in both ways depending on the issue and solutions? Do you have any sense of the breakdown of all digital vs. no digital vs. hybrid? 

Bhagvan Kommadi's picture
Bhagvan Kommadi on Jul 29, 2021

I will update the article with the breakdown of all digital vs. no digital vs. hybrid. I will highlight the point that the digital experience might not be complete, it can be in the middle or there might be pushback.

Bhagvan Kommadi's picture
Thank Bhagvan for the Post!
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