A digital watershed is happening beneath the footings of every utility. From new technologies that monitor and control to the communication demands of savvy consumers for personalization, utilities have new roles to fulfill for their consumers beyond being a reliable and affordable supplier of basic needs - electric, gas and water.
Perhaps no industry has more of these gaps to bridge than the utility industry. Customer engagement alone is enough to keep utility marketers busy.
One of the challenges for today's utility is understanding their own customers well enough to deliver service efficiently. Many utilities fall short in gathering useful customer data, or they already have the data but fail to use it effectively to gather valuable customer insights. Without insights, they cannot implement new strategies and cannot produce different results. Harnessing data enables utilities to take actions that improve performance, such as lowering consumption, improving bill payment and improving self-service activities.
The customer service expected in 2019 demands more than access to meter data. The business strategies of the 1990's are insufficient 25 years later to provide even the basic customer experience.
The answers to old questions usually will not resolve new problems. There is a reason they say, “You don’t get the right answers if you don’t ask the right questions.” It’s not surprising that many utilities struggle to obtain the detailed data and advanced analytics necessary to answer new questions when their methods are essentially the same. We should question if smart meters really provide a clearer resolution to a 1970's picture.
So what will the 2020's picture look like? That’s partially up to utilities, but we think the following four questions are ones every utility should be asking.
- How can utilities engage with consumers to promote more effective communication and energy use behaviors?
Utilities cannot get around the need for customer-centric operations. The paradigm is now customers, not meters. While new tools and technologies may create greater convenience and value in customer interactions, utilities must still harness the critical customer insights that enable them to educate and communicate effectively, ensuring that consumers understand their available options and how to use them. Providing this critical engagement solidifies stronger customer-utility relationships.
- What smart technologies / IoT devices do my customers use or care about?
With history that extends a century, utilities know that they must implement new and better ways to provide service when they can in order to comply with regulations, improve safety and reduce operational costs. Today, smart devices and decentralized generation and storage are revolutionizing utility markets, which call for sophisticated integration of communities, devices and currencies. Utilities need to be aware of options in these areas in order to make the wise decisions that will give them another century of reliable service.
Download this “Case Study” and compare your utility’s goals with results achieved by engaging their customers.
- Are we extracting useful analytics with regard to our utility customers?
Comprehensive utility analytics offer every level of statistics you need to determine what your customers are doing; what they want, what they don’t want and what they’re asking for. To ensure 21st century customer service that meets your customers’ 21st century expectations, your utility needs to open lines of interactivity that are now available for these purposes.
- Are our communications up to date, (i.e., are we efficiently communicating with our utility customers across multiple digital touch-points?)
The information provided on the average utility bill may not be enough for today's utility customer. Additionally, we can now provide consumers with meaningful, personalized content via text and email as needed. Learn how one company approaches this problem and turned it into a major customer benefit.
As times change and new technologies emerge, as generations more and more defined by, and enthralled with digital interaction, come of age and begin to influence older generations, the list of necessary utility questions will change — but it will not get less tech-driven. Dismissing any of these foundational considerations will leave utilities with monumental disadvantages compared to those that identify and adapt.
Accurate data is foundational to asking better questions, getting better answers, and making better plans. With it, utilities can begin to play a new role that everyone is waiting for them to see: that of a trusted adviser bringing clarity to their own sea of energy options. This enables utilities to achieve their critical cost and performance objectives now and in the future.
Brilliency helps utility marketers to understand the challenges the CIO faces and vice-versa: the value we bring is not solely in our features, but in the insights we deliver across business functions to move the entire organization forward.
What is Brilliant Efficiency? What is Brilliency?
Get a firsthand view of how this utility provider answered many of these questions with one tech solution.