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Sharing is Caring - Boost Customer Care with Data Sharing?

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Nevelyn Black is an independent writer with a background in broadcast and a keen interest in renewable energy.  In the last few years, she transitioned from celebrity interviews and film shoots...

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Have utilities been overlooking an opportunity to retain customers and build brand loyalty?  Creating a positive customer experience in the age of instant gratification is a challenge for any business but especially for utilities.  There’s got to be a better way to improve customer service and meet the expectations of the average consumer.  Is there an app for that?  Yes there is and according to researchers, that app should be sharing data with customers.  This idea may go against the grain for some.  A Harvard Business Review survey found that 74% of companies experience leadership or cultural reluctance to use data and analytics to their fullest.  However, “Data and Analytics leaders who share data to external audiences generate three times more measurable economic benefit than those who do not,” according to Gartner. Utilities must share insights and recommendations from data with customers.  This will enable customers to be more successful with products and services and lead to an improved customer experience.  New technologies allow companies to have greater control over the overall customer experience. AI chatbots reduce call center queries and cloud-based CRM solutions can provide ease of use and integration with other apps.  DNV, an independent expert in assurance and risk management, uses data to identify problem areas and potential issues for customers before they happen.  Their analytics platform, ‘Cascade Insights’ provides data about equipment and processes that are at risk of or are performing sub-optimally.  It not only saves money, it is also a source of subscription revenue.  Companies that take a more proactive role in communicating with customers will increase the ease and effectiveness of the customer’s experience.  Among the challenges utilities face are knowing and identifying their customers.  Companies that actively listen to their customers and solve problems can build brand loyalty.  Navigating user-unfriendly websites frustrates customers and forces them to use call centers.  This wastes time especially if the issue is one they can remedy themselves through self-service applications. 

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Not everyone is eager to share data with employees and customers but those who do will reap the benefits.  According to Ron Howard, head of electric grid ecosystem & product center for DNV,  'The key is to understand that data, learn to capture and prepare it properly, then present it to your users in a way that is meaningful to them.’   You already have the data.  Can you use it to drive revenue? Are you sharing it with customers in a meaningful way? 

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