The relentless advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has made utilities wonder how they can harness AI technologies to achieve customer-centricity (AI-driven). However, given the broad scope of AI, it is necessary to understand how and where specific applications can be most helpful in order to successfully target a utility’s needs.
Mapping an end-to-end customer journey is, in essence, to determine which AI applications are necessary to streamline interactions and processes at every touchpoint. Such a journey should begin with utilities’ ability to segment customers and make predictions about their behavior. By running data models driven by machine learning capabilities, these companies can create customer profiles sharpened with key financial and usage insights. As a result, tailored offers and next-best-actions can be designed to cater to customers with specific characteristics.
However, the goal is to deliver the offers and best actions effectively to drive engagement. Through smart workflows, utilities orchestrate the data and processes necessary to present customers with the best-suited alternative. These workflows can identify signals (e.g. a customer with a high payment default risk on their upcoming bill) to trigger a specific follow-up task (e.g. offering a levelized payment plan) automatically.
Then, the personalized alternative must be accessible for customers at their preferred interaction channels. In that regard, AI plays a central role as it enables utilities to create automated interactions using communications interfaces that are increasingly demanded by a new generation of digital-first individuals. Furthermore, as several channels are available, AI orchestration capabilities enable the omnichannel approach necessary to keep the context of the interaction regardless of the channel where it occurs.
In practical terms, a customer may receive an SMS (triggered by the smart workflow) with some information about the upcoming bill and a link that redirects to the company’s self-service portal. On the portal, the alternative is presented for the customer to enroll. If more information is required, a chatbot (some utilities even have enabled voice-based interactions using a virtual personal assistant like Amazon’s Alexa) is ready to assist the customer, and the communication can continue via live chat with a service representative if desired.
By enabling AI-driven customer interactions, what customers and service representatives see is a personalized course of action that has been crafted to help the utility anticipate customers’ needs to provide them with the best-suited offers, all of it beautifully wrapped to be delivered following an omnichannel CX approach. This entire process should be supported by a flexible and perfect-at-the-core CIS, which allows utilities to proactively meet customers on the channel of their choice and present them with products that they understand and can use to their benefit.
Ultimately, streamlining key touchpoints across the journey using AI increases engagement as customers are presented with personalized alternatives conveniently accessible through several digital channels. Consequently, utilities improve conversion ratio through higher program enrollment and sales of new products and services, driving revenue while maximizing customer satisfaction.