If utilities want to succeed with a customer-centric business model, they need to provide a truly outstanding customer experience. By implementing advanced CIS solutions with powerful digital tools, they can achieve better business results through the creation of more effective interactions which strengthen customer relationships.
According to Gartner, a leading research and advisory company, 84% of customers are unsatisfied with their experience using digital tools and services1. Unfortunately, the utility sector is not giving customers what they want, which is why there is a big push to improve customer engagement and provide a better service with the help of modern software solutions. TMG Consulting found that the number one reason for utilities to upgrade their CIS is to keep up with evolving customer expectations2. These expectations are varied and constantly changing, so it is important that companies stay in close contact with their customers to stay informed about the latest trends. For example, there is a growing number of tech-savvy customers who are concerned about climate change and who want real-time access to account information to help them use resources more efficiently.
The desire for constant connectivity is not unique to any particular segment. In the era of mobile devices, customers across the board expect their utility company to provide 24/7 access to personalized information and on top of this, they want to interact through digital channels that are available from their phones. In fact, 48% of customers prefer using mobile devices to communicate with their utility provider3, making mobility initiatives a high priority for customer-centric companies. By investing in this new paradigm for commercial relationships, Smart Utilities can communicate better with their customers to improve satisfaction and case resolution indicators.
But what technological infrastructure should service providers invest in to digitize their business and overcome the problem of unmet customer expectations? Customer information systems manage the majority of customer interactions, so these are the natural place to start the evolution of digital experiences. While these solutions have traditionally been based around the simple meter-to-cash model, there is now an increasing appetite for expanded CIS solutions which are geared towards managing customer relationships in the digital world. The latest generation of CIS provides enhanced support to customer-facing processes by providing capabilities such as mobility, self-service, multichannel communications, and customer analytics.
Open Smartflex is a holistic CIS solution that includes a comprehensive range of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) applications to help utility companies transition to a more personalized and digital service model. With this solution, utilities have the digital engagement tools they need to meet the current expectations of their customers and continue to meet them as they change and develop over time.
(1) Gartner Inc. (2018). Gartner Survey Finds That Most Consumers Have Underwhelming Digital Experiences. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2018-10-03-gartner-survey-finds-that-most-consumers-have-underwhelming-digital-experiences
(2) TMG Consulting. (2018). Utility Industry Disruption: 5 Profound Trends Impacting IT Modernization Projects. http://www.csforms.org/Conference42/Workshop%20pdfs/TMG.pdf
(3) TMG Consulting. (2018). Utility Industry Disruption: 5 Profound Trends Impacting IT Modernization Projects. http://www.csforms.org/Conference42/Workshop%20pdfs/TMG.pdf