Utilities routinely rank at the bottom of the list for customer satisfaction and engagement. As the trend toward clean energy accelerates, more disruptors will enter the market, and customers will have more options than ever before. (Forbes, 2022) Additionally, consumers continue to become digitally savvy, with many of these next-generation customers seeing speed, personalization, and convenience as the expected norm, even for utilities.
The latest advances in generative AI and predictive analytics can be used to upgrade legacy communications processes and transform how utilities interface with constituents, allowing them to stay competitive and provide quality CX to increasingly modernizing customers.
How AI drives digital transformation
Utilities staffing a call center with only human agents will find that’s not sufficient to match the demands of today’s consumers. Instead, companies can use generative AI, in the form of chatbots and natural language IVR, to augment their customer service agents. Should there be a large influx of calls due to a power outage or upcoming billing cycle, for example, customers won’t be put on hold, as AI-powered self-service solutions permit callers to complete simple tasks, such as updating payment information, without the use of an agent.
By leveraging generative AI to automate many of these routine questions that come into the call center environment, utilities will not only protect their finite human agents from becoming overwhelmed, but they’ll also give their staff the ability to devote more time to complex customer needs, like addressing disputes over canceled service, thus enhancing CX. Likewise, limiting the number of repetitive tasks agents have to complete daily will combat burnout, decreasing turnover.
Utilities can also use AI to drive advanced messaging and omnichannel experiences, letting customers conveniently engage with the channel of their choice, be that SMS, email, or social messaging. And because people are more likely to respond to SMS messages over calls, utilities can be creative and send upcoming bill reminders via text to reduce late payments while boosting engagement.
Generative AI, specifically the use of a large language model (LLM) or a deep learning algorithm, will identify, summarize, and generate content based on insights it gathers from massive datasets. With generative AI, utilities can extract patterns and trends from data quickly, improve search functionality, and help customers find information easily, such as past billing statements or other documents. (LinkedIn, 2023)
Refining CX through predictive analytics
AI solutions are only as robust as the data they use. Utilities must employ tools, like predictive analytics, that can analyze the data generated from customer interactions to improve CX. Ideally, these companies should find a vendor that provides both AI and data analysis solutions.
With an AI-driven data analysis platform, utilities can organize their customer data into one repository, enabling them to understand, predict, and address customer needs. (Capita, 2021) For example, predictive analytics empower utilities to study customer interactions more precisely, determining what went wrong or right. Where is the customer calling? At what exact moment in the journey did the caller hang up? Did the solution work, or does the customer still have the same problem?
Furthermore, utilities will need a complete picture of their communications, as they could have thousands or even millions of customers. As such, utilities should prioritize a data analytics platform with on-demand reporting capabilities and customizable dashboards, giving them real-time and historical data across relevant channels. Utilities can also perform habitual data analysis to identify trends, like call volume during foul weather, and apply solutions accordingly.
Future-proofing with IntelePeer’s SmartAnalytics
In the face of disruption from new green companies and pressures from ever-digitizing consumers, it is pivotal that utilities modernize their communication processes and improve their CX. And by deploying SmartAnalytics from IntelePeer, utilities will gain visibility into omnichannel customer interactions with actionable, on-demand insights.
Reach out today to discover how our AI and SmartAnalytics can help your utility make better and smarter business decisions.