Energy Providers need to develop digital platforms with personalized cost analyses to transform the customer experience
- Dec 16, 2021 8:49 am GMT
My previous article discussed how residential customers increasingly look to their utility as an energy advisor, and how utilities can meet these needs by providing clear rate and cost analytics via personalized bill impact statements.
The channels utilities rely on to present customers this rate and cost information is of growing importance. With the burgeoning e-commerce ecosystem, the vast majority of utility customers both have access to a wide variety of mobile applications and web-based portals, and are accustomed to using these digital platforms. The implication of this for utilities is that utilities needs to think proactively about developing digital platforms that provide both cost-savings and enhance customer service.
To optimize the customer experience, utilities need to think carefully about the design of their customer portals and CRM platforms. These tools will become central mediums for customer decision-making on energy rates, programs, and technology adoption. Research shows that customers understand impacts in dollars and centsrather than kilowatt hour scenarios. Therefore, utilities need to ensure that they integrate rate and cost analytics on digital platforms to ensure that customers can evaluate the financial impact of their usage decisions.
Particularly, utilities can add rate and cost analytics to CRM platforms and energy portals to:
- Serve key account managers with personalized and scenario-based usage, rate, bill and cost analyses for large customers across their complex account hierarchy
- Provide energy scenario tools showing customer bill impacts with rate changes
- Send customers proactive notifications with energy cost saving recommendations
- Enable customers to select their desire rate via an energy portal
Leading utilities are deploying such tools. Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), a recognized industry leader and award winner for its innovative energy programs, relies on GridX CSR tools with personalized and scenario-based usage, and ad hoc rate analyses in real time to effectively answer questions about rates, pricing, bills and costs. These tools enable CSRs to advise customers in thousands of scenarios, and the tools have helped build customer trust through proactive customer engagement and high-quality analyses.
In short, the utility customer service model is undergoing a substantial change. As utilities increase their reliance on digital platforms to reach and serve customers, the integration of rate and cost analytics as well as self-serve tools will be critical to enhancing the customer experience.
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