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The Future of Utility CX

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Karen Marcus's picture
Freelance Energy and Technology Researcher and Writer Final Draft Communications, LLC

In addition to serving as an Energy Central Community Manager, Karen Marcus has 25 years of experience as a content developer within the energy and technology industries. She has worked with...

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  • Aug 26, 2022
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Power utilities are changing in many ways and one of them is how they manage the customer experience (CX). This change is in response to a number of factors, including new methods of power generation and delivery, powerful technologies that support new ways of connecting, and customer demand based on interactions within other industries.

Proactive Communication

Replacing the old scenario of customers not realizing they will end up with a high bill until the end of the billing cycle are methods for warning customers when their use is higher than normal. And not only are messages and alerts available, but they are also easily accessible through utility portals, apps, and voice-controlled systems on smart devices. Such communications can also be used to suggest alternative billing programs that might be helpful to customers.

Elevated Customer Care

In the old model, utilities waited for customers to contact them with problems, such as outages or billing mistakes. The new model includes the ability to reach out to customers, letting them know what to expect. Proactive text messages might include an alert to let customers know power will be out in their area and for how long, what dangers (such as downed trees) to watch for, alternative places to shelter in case of extreme weather conditions, and suggestions for services (such as backup power sources) that could help maintain power in the future.

Personalized Services

The future of utility CX includes new possibilities for highly personalized services. For example, the utility may learn from real-time data analysis that an elderly customer isn’t using kitchen appliances at the usual time in the morning, indicating a potential health problem. If the customer has opted into a monitoring service, a nearby friend or relative may be alerted to check in on them.

Seamless Clean Energy Options

According to a recent article published by Forbes, “The goal of utility companies isn’t just to provide resources to customers; it’s to shift customers toward decisions that are more meaningful and conserve resources.” Utilities have the capability to help customers move toward clean energy options as these companies pursue Net Zero goals. Providing services like the installation of solar panels and attached EV charging, along with training on how to use them, can propel utilities to a new position of “trusted energy advisor.”

Prosumer Support

Utilities continue to work with customers in shifting to a prosumer role — that is, as an entity that not only consumes energy but also produces it. For example, a homeowner with solar panels might generate more than they need and send the excess back to the utility to help offset peak demand. Utilities can coordinate these efforts and even provide energy exchanges to prevent outages and ensure that all power sources in an area are balanced.

As we have seen here, new CX strategies include proactive communication, elevated customer care, personalized services, seamless clean energy options, and prosumer support. These methods transform the old notions of utilities as terrible customer service providers into a picture of these entities forming close partnerships with the people and businesses they serve.  

What does the future of CX look like for your utility? Please share in the comments.

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