Using AI to Fuel Utility Customer Engagement

Shawna Drollinger, Sr. Product Marketing Manager

Across industries, companies are leveraging data and artificial intelligence to better understand their customers, hyper-personalize experiences, and improve customer engagement.

Today, many utility companies have not fully realized the business value that other sectors have achieved from their customer engagement models. While most of the industry has embraced the importance of the customer experience, its impact on revenue and the cost-to-serve, many have failed to implement the right tools or simply lack the channels that make it easy to engage their customers in a positive, impactful way.

Utilities have access to huge volumes of data flowing through their systems, website, apps, call centers, and marketing programs—all of which continue to grow. If this data remains siloed, utilities will miss the opportunity to develop a comprehensive understanding of their customers and prospects – and will struggle to translate insight to revenue.

Here are five reasons why utilities should consider using AI to create more meaningful customer experiences:

Lower the barriers to service

Today’s customers demand personalized, connected experiences that allow them to engage at their leisure using the channel of their choice. With a true omni-channel suite of capabilities, utility providers can leverage AI to anticipate a customer’s issues in advance of the customer interaction and proactively engage. For example, embedded intelligence can identify a spike in monthly spend or potential water leak and trigger a customer communication or flag for an agent as the likely reason for the customer call.

Deflect to digital self-service

Offering digital self-service capabilities can drastically reduce operating costs while satisfying the growing demographic that would rather engage digitally than seek out assisted service. However, self-service tools that are not underpinned by comprehensive knowledge management often require customers to switch channels and repeat their issue, leading to lower CSAT. AI-powered digital assistants enable a rich, conversational experience, and provide customers the ability to switch to assisted channels without losing context.

Reinvent the agent experience

Many utilities struggle to create the agent experience that empowers their employees to do their best work. Agents are often faced with several screens, multiple disjointed applications, and no common user interface or integration across them, directly impacting the customer and resulting in employee frustration that can lead to high attrition. Utility companies can solve this problem with an intelligence-based agent desktop, giving agents a tailored 360-view of the customer and leveraging AI to directly surface relevant, context-based information in a clear and informative manner.

Leverage industry-specific process support

The utility industry has several unique processes that generic customer service systems were not built to support. As a result, most utility companies have been unsuccessful in bringing together or integrating their service processes into their CRM systems. By integrating specific service processes into your customer platform, such as establishing a new customer service or credit/collection process, AI can be used to present all the relevant information in one place without having to tirelessly hunt for the information needed.

Turn service into sales

Service remains a grossly underutilized sales channel within most utilities. Sales and service remain entirely disconnected for customers and within the business. Agents simply don’t have the right information or system support to enable the personalized upsell of products as part of a blended service and sales experience. Using AI, utilities can expose a previously unidentified need or a more appropriate product offering, allowing utility providers to deliver further value for the customer.

To succeed in today’s digital-first environment, utilities must take a holistic, data-driven approach to offer the omnichannel, connected experiences their customers deserve. Connecting the front office to the back office is the first step to ensuring the proper application of AI to surface pertinent data and information at each interaction with the customer. Click here to learn how AI-powered customer experiences can benefit your utility customers.

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