Research Results: CX Enablers & Technology Investments

CX Trends

“Utility customers want the lights to work, clean water to flow, and their bills to be accurate. Customer satisfaction is all about getting these things right and nothing more”. 

It wasn’t very long ago that this statement rang true for most utility customers. Utility services were considered a basic, no bells-and-whistles commodity. “Set it and forget it” was all customers wanted. At that time, it was the responsibility of customer-facing departments—alone—to own the utility customer experience (CX). 

That started to change with the introduction of market complexities including: 

  • Distributed energy models; 
  • Electric vehicles; 
  • Value-added products and services (VAPS); 
  • Complex rate structures; 
  • Self-service technologies, and more. 

The lines between customer-facing departments and operations became blurry. Gradually, utility customers were introduced to the concept of “the value-added utility”, which started offering them a certain degree of visibility, choice, and control. But it all came too fast, and utilities fell short when it came to offering the CX customers expected based on their interactions with the product, program, and service providers in other industries. 

Advancing utility customer-centricity was then elevated to center stage.  

Customer-Centricity Today 

CX is critical to customer-centricity, and it is not just about being pleasant on the phone or offering an IVR experience that doesn’t leave customers frustrated. Customer-centricity hinges on understanding the entire customer journey and proactively, and intentionally responding to customer needs, even those that are unspoken. 

Today, customer-centricity must become an enterprise-wide mindset where utility companies consider the customer when making all business decisions. All departments and employees need to take responsibility for CX. As companies see greater adoption of self-service, for example, field workers—and those who manage them—need to become customer experience superstars like the much-loved UPS drivers. In a self-service world, which is our future, field workers may be the only human interaction customers will have with their utility. 

In a new CX benchmarking study, conducted by the Utility 2030 Collaborative in partnership with Ibex, and Energy Central, nearly 80% of respondents indicated that they aspire to be “very high” or “high” in the area of customer-centricity by 2030. “Very high” is putting the customer perspective at the forefront of all business decisions at all levels of the utility. “High” means having a mature voice of the customer program, customer journeys mapped and understood, customer experience used to prioritize future investments. 

Unfortunately, only one in four responses rated their utility as “very high” or “high” today.  

Closing the Gap 

How utilities are going to close the gap between where they are today and their future aspirations, is the overarching question the survey sought to answer by exploring recent and planned technology investments.  

Key headlines from the survey include: 

  • The Future of 3rd Party Partners 
  • Analytics: The Gateway to Your CX Utopia 
  • Leading Technology Investments 
  • The Evolution and Popularity of Utility Self-service 
  • CIS at Center of Utility CX applications 

Start the Conversation 

The days of “set it and forget it” are long gone for utilities and their customers, and customer-centricity and CX are our future. Fortunately, technology products and services providers are enabling and advancing this future. Whether you’re in the market for a CIS, a 3rd party partner who can help with your customer marketplace, or something else, Utility 2030 members, the industry’s leading technology providers, are ready and waiting to start a conversation with you. Find them within our “Provider Directory” at www.utililty2030.org

Vanessa Edmonds

Vanessa Edmonds

Executive Director, Utility 2030 Collaborative

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