The utilities customer experience is undergoing a significant transformation, as are the energy and utility sectors. The primary reason is the energy transition towards renewable sources and advancements in technology. Consumer expectations have evolved as well, demanding responsive and customer-centric service providers who prioritise openness, sustainability, and innovation.
Nowadays, consumers base their choice of utility and energy suppliers on various factors, including competitive prices, reliable service, personalisation, convenience, effective communication, transparency, and innovation.
Fortunately, there has been notable progress in recent years, with utilities recognising the importance of understanding and meeting the needs of their customers. The focus has shifted from viewing customers solely as ratepayers to cultivating partnerships that align with renewable and clean energy standards and goals.
To thrive in this changing landscape, utilities must go beyond traditional approaches and fully embrace a customer-centric approach in energy services. By placing the customer at the forefront of their business strategies, utilities can enhance their services, create meaningful engagements, and foster long-term relationships.
In this article, we will explore what makes a customer-centric utility and how to become one by developing new sets of capabilities in customer service.
Unveiling the Essence of Customer-Centric Utilities
Under the conditions of the energy transition, the conventional energy system is evolving towards new service models. They require the development of distinct capabilities in customer service to effectively address the changing demands and requirements of customers and the utilities market.
Such capabilities should contain, but not be limited to, the following characteristics:
- Full Customer View: A comprehensive view of all customer-related information and activities, including general contact details, specific customer information, offerings, packages, services, billing preferences, invoices, receipts, financial status, and profile. This allows for a deep understanding of each customer’s needs and preferences.
- Workflow Support: Workflow support that allows for the customization and automation of unique customer service representative (CSR) processes and tasks based on built-in business logic. This ensures efficient and consistent handling of customer requests and inquiries.
- CRM Processes: Capability to manage customer relationship management processes, including customer segmentation and profiling, campaigns, lead management, sales processes, and quotation. This enables targeted marketing and sales efforts to cater to specific customer segments.
- Call Center Integration: Integration with call centre systems, including user task dashboard, diary notes, communication history, integration with computer-telephony integration (CTI) and interactive voice response (IVR) systems. This provides a seamless and efficient customer-centric experiences, with easy access to relevant customer information and streamlined communication channels.
- Multi-Channel Communication: Support for various communication channels from a single system, including SMS, mail, emails, and social networks. This enables companies to interact with customers through their preferred channels, enhancing convenience and responsiveness.
- Advanced Search: Embedded advanced search functionality that allows for easy retrieval of customer data. This ensures quick and accurate access to customer information, improving response times and overall customer service efficiency.
- AI and Machine Learning: These advancements enable utilities to analyse customer data and predict behaviors, allowing them to proactively identify customers who are at risk of churn. By understanding customer patterns and preferences, utilities can take proactive measures to retain their customers.
By having these capabilities in your customer relationship management system, you can effectively focus on meeting customer needs, providing personalized experiences, and building strong relationships with your customers.
Integral to becoming customer-centric in utility is the strategic implementation of appropriate technology that enables it.
MaxBill customer-centric CRM for utilities
MaxBill’s approach to customer relationship management encompasses customer-centric solutions for utilities, such as CRM, partner management, order management, resource management (e.g., switches, IP, meters, and lines), service configuration, provisioning, accounts receivable, and cash collections. These functionalities seamlessly integrate within a unified web front-end framework, streamlining and optimising business processes.
The system consists of three key functionalities:
The MaxCare Tool
MaxCare is an all-inclusive web-based CRM tool designed to empower service providers to efficiently maintain and manage customer business processes. With its comprehensive capabilities, MaxCare allows for centralised control and monitoring of such processes throughout the customer lifecycle.
The internal system seamlessly presents a meticulously detailed customer information display. By providing CSRs with a panoramic view of every customer account, they gain access to a wealth of invaluable insights. Our system encompasses a vast array of customer data, including:
- Comprehensive contact details and specific customer information.
- A comprehensive overview of offerings, packages, and services.
- Convenient access to billing preferences, invoices, receipts, financial status, and profiles.
- Streamlined handling of multiple hierarchies for corporate and dealer compensation and discounting.
- Tailored workflow support, aligning with unique CSR processes and tasks driven by our built-in business logic.
- An all-encompassing customer profile, ensuring seamless management of their services.
Advanced task management becomes possible with a workflow mechanism integrated into the system, ensuring efficient resolutions and effective escalation procedures. CSRs are equipped with the necessary instruments to deliver exceptional customer support and handle complex tasks effortlessly.
Customer relationship management
Our CRM system streamlines crucial business processes to enhance your operations:
- Customer Segmentation and Profiling: Effectively categorise and analyse customer data to gain valuable insights into their preferences and behaviours, enabling targeted marketing strategies.
- Campaign Management: Seamlessly orchestrate and track marketing campaigns, ensuring personalised and engaging interactions with customers.
- Lead Management, Sales Processes, and Quotations: Optimise your sales pipeline by efficiently managing leads, tracking sales processes, and generating accurate quotations to close deals swiftly.
Moreover, our system incorporates a built-in Business Process Management (BPM) engine that automates core operations, including:
- Change Management: Streamline the process of implementing changes to your products or services, ensuring smooth transitions and minimising disruptions.
- Incident and Problem Management: Resolve and manage customer issues promptly, minimising downtime and maximising satisfaction.
- Service Level Management: Set and monitor service level agreements to guarantee timely delivery and meet customer expectations consistently.
- Configuration Management: Effortlessly maintain and track your product or service configurations, ensuring accuracy and facilitating efficient support.
By automating these essential processes, our CRM system enhances customer experience management, ensures timely service delivery, and fosters greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Customer-driven call centre components
MaxBill’s CRM solution empowers businesses to cultivate authentic relationships with their end-customers across various communication channels. Here’s how our system enhances the digital customer engagement strategy:
- User Task Dashboard: Seamlessly manage and prioritize tasks with our intuitive dashboard, enabling efficient customer interaction and seamless workflow.
- Diary Notes and Communication History: Maintain a comprehensive record of customer interactions, ensuring a seamless flow of communication and enabling personalized and informed conversations.
- Integration with CTI and IVR: Seamlessly integrate our CRM solution with CTI (Computer Telephony Integration) and IVR (Interactive Voice Response) systems, enabling efficient call routing and personalized customer experiences.
- Embedded Advanced Search Functionality: Effortlessly access customer data through our embedded advanced search functionality, saving time and ensuring quick access to vital information.
By seamlessly combining these key functionalities, MaxBill’s customer care approach enables enterprise-wide service and revenue assurance, resulting in heightened customer satisfaction, reduced churn rates, and increased profitability.
Effortless Integration for Your Business
The MaxBill CRM Approach can be easily applied to the main CRM system of energy and utility suppliers. The implementation process suggests a powerful process designer that harnesses the strength of the BPMN 2.0 standard. This feature allows business and IT personnel to effortlessly comprehend and collaborate on process models.
The solution’s low-code functionality empowers IT professionals to effortlessly tailor interfaces, business logic, and integrations with third-party systems to perfectly align with the specific business needs of the customer-centric utility organisation. With ease and efficiency, an IT team can configure and customize any crucial component to optimize operations.
AI and Machine Learning for Impeccable Customer Experience
In today’s fast-paced global markets, digitalization, and the era of customer-centric transformation in utility, traditional general-purpose CRM applications fall short of addressing the dynamic needs of businesses. To achieve higher success rates in introducing new products and services, as well as to elevate customer service and satisfaction, businesses now require a new breed of CRM—one infused with the power of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI).
MaxBill’s approach to customer relationship management suggests prediction mechanisms to reduce churn rates. In fact, machine learning helps identify customers who are likely to leave, and AI prediction mechanisms generate recommendations for each customer individually based on their previous decisions as well as best practices for such cases. Furthermore, these capabilities generate next-best offer suggestions, making customers even more loyal.
At MaxBill, we are dedicated to delivering top-notch customer-centric solutions in the utilities sector and enhancing the service efficiency of utility and energy companies. Through our process-centric user experience (UX) and embedded intelligence, we simplify case classification and routing, enabling streamlined operations. Our solution empowers service agents by providing assistance throughout case resolutions, guiding their attention towards the next crucial steps. With MaxBill, utility and energy companies can optimise their service delivery and provide superior customer experiences. Get in touch with us and leverage MaxBill’s solution to streamline your customer life-cycle management.