- Sentiment analytics that foster meaningful relationships between utilities and consumers by understanding engagement with consumers on social media and increasing relevance based on it.
Advanced analytics will continue to remain a critical capability for utilities, given the dynamics and nature of the disruption within the industry. Leading utilities are taking advantage of technology breakthroughs and new skill sets available in the marketplace to drive this chaotic situation to their competitive advantage.
Addressing the data deluge, ROI challenge through velocity of change
The unpredictable environment and disruptive economy will necessitate that utilities start adopting the agile model to data, analytics and information. It is also critical to adopt an iterative approach that allows utilities to test the success or failure of use cases rapidly. This will help incrementally build their platform for likely success in the future environment. While the realization of use cases, potential impact and newer delivery models such as agile approach are acknowledged, it is important to recognize that data deluge continues to pose greater challenges for utilities to derive insights and to deliver sustainable business performance. As data sets get larger, utilities must be ready to cope with and build on the high volume and velocity of real-time structured and unstructured data.
Many utilities are still grappling with a single or 360 degree view of customers. This is particularly evident when an outage event occurs.
Whether the call is answered by a CSR or the customer uses the website, that experience and the information shared must be contextualized and engage the customer purposefully and effectively. More and more utilities are investing in Data Lake where information is seamlessly connected across all data sources, whether conventional or new age distributed generation sources. This is one key capability that can drive the organization from data deluge to analytical, actionable insights, which are meaningful and provide an improved customer experience.
Leading utilities are deriving faster insights with a use case-driven approach. This will support a range of analytics from prescriptive to descriptive. Typically, a prioritized list of use cases provides the ability to review complexity-to-implement vs business-outcomes-expected-to-be-delivered. This list goes a long way in addressing these needs.
One key insight from customer behavior is the need for more personalization. Utilities need to mirror the customer-servicing standards and processes of other industries. The goal should be to move from the listen-respond paradigm of customer service to one of predicting customer needs and proactively responding to them. One key customer service tenet for utilities to incorporate into their customer service strategy is offering personalized digital customer engagement that leverages the power of conversation.
Leveraging chat bots helps reduce cost to serve
While web chats are quite popular, utilities can leverage intuitive conversational platforms or chat bots that combine the power of analytics with real-time personalized conversations for superior customer service. Conversational bots represent the best-of-breed of modern digital technology and personal customer care. With necessary security and access controls, platforms that engage customers in personalized, intuitive conversations can reduce agent cost for handling customers’ social media queries while enabling quicker and better customer service. Examples of specific use cases where this can be employed include:
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled front office and back office operations in utilities that leverage learning bots capable of predicting bill shocks;
- Categorizing customer complaints; and
- Resolving queries preemptively through text or voice-based conversational interfaces.
How to quickly and successfully drive digital interventions
For utilities, the key questions are often about where to begin and how to build on successful digital interventions. Grappling with a plethora of problems and a myriad of digital solutions, it can be daunting for any utility to create a meaningful digital roadmap. The digital opportunity canvas that Wipro has created for each of the utility segments provides a starting point for clients to shape their digital journey. It includes several candidate digital interventions that can be undertaken by utilities based on their goals, starting from foundational initiatives to industry trendsetters. These are firmly connected to the business goals they seek to deliver, like reducing costs, improving operational efficiency and enhancing customer experience. These Wipro initiatives also provide enough flexibility for client-specific ideas and priorities.
Key business imperatives
In summary, by employing a combination of advanced analytics for better customer insights and personalized customer service including chat bots for conversational interface, utilities can monetize data to achieve key business imperatives like:
- Delivering superior customer experience and improving customer loyalty and retention;
- Achieving higher customer satisfaction;
- Lowering total cost to serve;
- Delivering optimal outage prevention, detection and restoration for improved service reliability;
- Managing a higher penetration of demand side management and energy efficiency programs and measures; and
- Managing demand growth whileoptimizing costs.