The marketplace has changed
drastically over the past decade and looks to transform even more
quickly in the near future. Technological advancements, in
particular, have raised standards of performance both internally to
the industry and also among consumers.
Here are the major trends and pain
points in the industry and a look at what utility companies can do to
Rise in Popularity of Alternative Sources of Energy
Utilities must prepare to work with
customers who specifically wish to use only renewable sources. This
could be from external sources or from their own solar and wind
mechanisms. Customers with their own sources will wish to work with
utilities who will buy excess power from individual household
producers. Regulators in some states may work to compel utilities to
have more flexible relationships with consumers looking at using
Digitalization, Internet of Things, and Other Advances Will
Revolutionize the Industry
With manufacturing and the
transportation sector leading the way, the Internet of Things (IoT),
and other technological advances will transform the way most
companies look at production and distribution. Utilities must also
IoT devices hold a strong track
record of dramatically increasing efficiencies. They can monitor
production and distribution systems, reporting to human operators in
the home office or the field. Such devices can collect and analyze
data to perform a variety of tasks, including:
when key machinery may soon fail
quality control through monitoring utility plant operations
workers in the field find technical issues more quickly
supervisors better monitor and direct the progress of field
Advances do not stop with the advent
of the IoT. Unmanned drones can check power lines, pipelines, and
other infrastructure for issues and even help to identify sources of
outages much more quickly.
Overall, advances in data collection
will enable utilities to not only operate more efficiently and reduce
costs, but also serve customers more effectively. IoT data mining
from production and distribution, combined with that collected from
customer service systems, can give utilities a real competitive edge.
This edge will grow more necessary as non-utility providers (who may
have the potential to capture up to one-fifth of the energy
consumption market in the near future) enter the market more
Customer Service Pain Points and Technology Based Solutions
In 2016, the Smart
Grid Consumer Collaborative polled 2,000 American utility
customers. They found that an overwhelming number of consumers desire
more personalized and relevant offers and discounts. While utilities
did not perform as well at individualization as banks or online
retailers, they still outperformed cable and other entertainment
providers. One of the main problems lies in offers and deals
requiring too much effort from customers for not enough return.
Additionally, experts agree that
utilities can do more to personalize their relationship with
customers in ways that offer more convenience. They suggest that
utilities follow the banking industry by creating mobile apps that
help customers monitor service, pay bills from their mobile phone,
and make other areas of the service relationship more efficient.
Better interaction through social
media and the advent of Web 2.0 can also help to reduce frustration
and pain points while actively working to recruit and retain
customers. Web 2.0 refers to the evolution of the internet into a
more participatory environment, especially in terms of communication,
information sharing, and problem resolution. This has the potential
to reduce or eliminate the most frustrating customer service
experience with utility providers, the long wait for service on the
phone when the message tree cannot help.
The Customer May Not Always Be Right, But the Market Is
Technology changes have created a
broader energy consumption landscape that traditional utilities must
address, or face a loss of share. Consumers want more convenience,
better offers, and service with as little interruption as possible.
They also desire simple and personalized solutions to household and
business energy needs.
Pain points still exist and will
always exist The advancement of technology and continual
discovery of energy resources in the United States, however, point to
a potentially bright future for utilities and their consumers, if
they invest in the technology and the techniques that connect them
better to customers.
Swivelt Provides Solutions
Swivelt’s strong track record of success in creating technology-based customer service solutions can help any utility build their positive profile now. Utilities should not wait until non-utility competition starts pushing into the market. Swivelt provides omni-channel marketing, and customized mobile app service, as well as access to analytics and AI-based technology. Using these new technologies will help utility companies develop a stronger relationship and bond with customers, assisting dramatically in acquisition and retention.
Contact us to learn more about how our services can benefit your organization.
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