2020 raised the bar on customer experience across the board. Most people spent more time at home using more devices connected for more time, driving up both costs and awareness. In response to the changed landscape, utilities have pivoted to provide more personalized service, helping customers use energy more efficiently while providing access to more services virtually. From an internal operations perspective, many agents went remote, supported by cloud infrastructure and AI.
The changes made, lessons learned, and technology adopted during this time are here to stay—and for good reason. Innovative programs, sponsored by top executives, delivered real value to customers and utilities alike, including higher customer satisfaction, customer effort scores, retention, and revenue, plus lower cost per contact. Utilities hit the CX trifecta: increased efficiency, effectiveness, and empathy, satisfying the needs of Finance, Operations, and the customer.
Utilities, Customer Care, and AI
AI is the cornerstone in many new services used in customer engagement applications, call center service, and digital marketing. The most common starting point is in self-service, driven by the need to meet increased customer demand for interactions wherever and whenever they choose.
Customers can now interact 24/7 with chatbots and voice bots that select the best response from available sources using an NLP (natural language processing) interface that is elegant, direct, and surprisingly human—and therefore personal—in nature. If needed, these virtual assistants seamlessly connect to the best-fit live agent and provide context that helps the agent deliver great customer experience. This conversational AI works across digital and voice channels while also empowering agents with a real-time library of next-best-actions and recommendations specific to the interaction being processed.
Utilities are looking to AI to anticipate customer questions, analyze customer behavior, predict needs, and route interactions to the best-fit agent. Emotional analytics spot potential problems and identify the next-best-action for the customer. Personalization leads to predictive engagement (understanding what the customer wants next) and predictive routing (understanding where to send the customer next).
More generally, AI delivers dramatic improvement in automation, service delivery, prediction, prescription, alerting, recommendation, optimization, and assistance.
CONTINUE READING THE THOUGHT LEADERSHIP ARTICLE:
The New Era of AI-Driven Hyper-Personal