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Article : Why The Digital Transformation Roadmap has Changed for UK Utilities

#contactcenterworld, @eckoh

Author: Claire Lynam, Marketing Manager, Eckoh

The extreme energy industry disruption over the past year has covered regulatory demands to fast track digital transformation projects, improve customer services and meet consumers' demands for more digital engagement. While the general move to cloud-based technology enables these projects to be accomplished faster, it also brings with it the need for more robust security of service, operations, supply and data and those that use them.

Today, the focus is on three technology trends in the utility industry:

1) Customer experience: The increase in customers choosing online or self-service channels has resulted in utilities rethinking their digital strategy. Utility companies are seeking more efficient ways to enable customers to submit meter readings, pay bills, get updates on power cuts, change tariffs or just ask for support on any channel. There’s also a desire to make these channels work together to support customer preferences by taking an omnichannel approach to customer service that sees digital channels sitting alongside human contact to ensure that no customer is disadvantaged and customer churn is reduced.

2) Cloud solutions: Increasingly, utilities are adopting a mix of on-premise, home-based and mobile staff. Moving systems and solutions to the cloud means you can scale and adapt at speed, increase agility, streamline operations and reduce costs. It can also help improve communication with clients and field workers.

3)Information and cyber security: With greater digitalisation comes added risk – of fraud or data breaches. Protecting customer personal and payment data, authenticating customer identities and enabling secure payments through any channel are vital to maintaining compliance to GDPR, PCI DSS, industry regulations and building customer trust.

Digital transformation in these areas will strengthen and deepen digital relationships with customers to provide greater resiliency to market, industry and global pressures.

So, let's look at how utilities are transforming their businesses for operational resilience, richer customer experiences, improving payment data security and providing the ultimate customer service.

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Being prepared for the worst

By the end of 2026, it's estimated that 30% of Tier 1 utilities will reposition their IT from ‘built to last’ to ‘built for change’1. Building resiliency into utility company operations is already becoming a regulatory mandate and providing the much-needed push forwards rather than just ‘bouncing back’ to what was done before the pandemic. Replacing old ways of working and embracing digital transformation technologies create effective new ways to reach and connect to markets, employees and customers, anywhere, at any time.

The right degree of digitalisation in critical customer and workforce engagement functions will mean energy companies can maintain full customer service in almost any situation. It also means they can work effectively with a mix of home, mobile and office-based staff, and ensure security and compliance are maintained.

"Over the longer term, power and utility companies that most effectively build on the momentum of these forced transformations will succeed" - according to PwC

Delivering customer service more efficiently

Utility Week recently reported a surge in customer contact from utility customers during the pandemic. Companies that had a range of contact channels in place were able to reduce pressure on their contact centre by prioritising phone contact for those most in need. Other customers were encouraged to use digital and self-service channels such as IVRs, messaging, apps, chatbots and social media.

For many customers who wanted to save time, self-service has now become their preferred channel. For others who were having trouble paying bills, self-service channels provided a reassuringly anonymous way for them to find help and advice or make payments.

Sometimes however, customers just need to speak to a person. For utility companies, customers have tended to turn to human contact when there’s a power outage, if they are vulnerable, when they are concerned about managing increased fuel use or worried about their ability to pay. These issues are deeply personal and require specific responses2. At these times, channels like phone, chat, email or text can offer a lifeline — and so human contact must remain part of good customerexperience for utilities.

Maintaining payment data security and compliance

Remote working is here to stay, most likely as part of a hybrid working model. It’s expected that by the end of 2022, more than 20% of utilities will have permanently changed most employees’ primary work locations, using a mix of home, field and office, addressing the issue of continued security and compliance, regardless of where staff work, becomes more important.

Short-term fixes to plug security gaps may have been the initial response to the pandemic lockdown, but today, utility industry trends show companies are looking seriously at long term sustainable measures to protect data as a large proportion of their workforce stays at home. As a result, utilities are now moving away from on-premise contact centre technology – doing away with hardware and static phone systems – and moving their systems to the Cloud. Not only is this cheaper to run, but it’s more agile and flexible to accommodate the new hybrid way of working.

A word of warning however, before going all-in to the Cloud, contact centres should gauge the maturity of their customer service operations and factor in employee preferences. They should also check their data compliance responsibilities before assuming their Cloud provider will cover them. Cloud providers may claim their systems are PCI DSS and GDPR data security compliant, but it’s ultimately down to how your Cloud instances are configured as to whether it will block sensitive data entering your organisation. A simple change in an IVR payment flow for instance, could allow payment data to start flooding into your organisation if access controls and permissions are not set up correctly. And if breached, your organisation is 100% liable.

Providing richer customer experience

Customer trust in utility suppliers is running high currently1 but they still expect more from their provider than just the supply at a fair price. So, there is an opportunity to deepen your relationships in ways that will win approval from customers.

Changes in customer behaviour are continuous but the enforced changes of the last year, such as greater engagement via digital channels, are here to stay.

Ultimately the customer wants to get information, submit meter readings, pay bills, buy products or services update accounts or have more detailed discussions. Energy companies that let customers take charge of their account, fulfilling their goals in their channels of choice and switching seamlessly from one channel to another, will be the ones who succeed.

Seizing the moment

The move to greater digital engagement, through cloud-based technology, will allow utility companies to become more resilient and take their businesses to the next level. Increasingly, skilled customer service staff based anywhere will work alongside digital channels to create a connected and seamless engagement for customers and bring greater agility to any business.

#contactcenterworld, @eckoh


About Eckoh:
Company LogoEckoh is a global provider of Secure Payment and Customer Engagement solutions via our Eckoh Experience Portal. We’ve an international client base and offices in the UK and US. We're providers in transforming contact centre operations by delivering customer experiences across every channel, boosting agent productivity, reducing operations costs and maximising payment security. We’ve over 20 years’ experience in contact centre technology solutions. Eckoh has been a PCI DSS Level One Service Provider since 2010.
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Published: Monday, July 12, 2021

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2021 Buyers Guide Customer Relationship Management

 
1.) 
Alliance Infotech Pvt Ltd

alliance Infotech (P) Ltd. is an ISO 9001:2008 certified company and OEM having more than a decade of experience in CRM and Computer Telephony (CT) software solutions. Our CT products are sold in Telecom, Police, Media, Bank, Corporate, Defense and Contact-Centers. We have established technical relationship with leading component providers as a Digium Select partner, Sangoma, Microsoft Certified Partner and Dialogic amongst others.

2.) 
Alycom Business Solutions

CRM Solutions, Digital Marketing, Business Management Consultancy, HubSpot CRM, SugarCRM, Goldmine CRM
Since 2000, we help businesses to grow and increase revenues. We are a certified CRM solutions provider and digital marketing agency that align and automate your marketing and sales efforts to connect with ideal customers and make customers for life.

We strive every day to learn, improve, and grow in our ability to bring practical, efficient, state of the art, and affordable solutions for our customers. We use latest technologies to improve your business's marketing, sales, and customer relationship management.

We are looking forward to serving you with our knowledge, expertise, and experience, so you and your team may benefit by closing more sales, providing exceptional service to and retaining customers for life.

3.) 
Cloudyflex

Zoho CRM Suite
Zoho CRM is a world leading cloud based customer relationship management suite covering all CRM functionalities a modern company needs :
- Multi Channel Lead Management
- Sales Force Automation
- Quotation & Order Management
- Full 'Lead to Order' process
- After Sales Services
- Social Media Management
- Mass E-mailing & Marketing Automation

& several other capabilities

4.) 
Commence Corporation

Commence CRM
Comprehensive solution for automating sales, marketing, customer service ticketing and project management.

5.) 
eGain Corporation

eGain Solve™
eGain Solve™ is the industry’s leading cloud solution for omnichannel customer service and engagement. As the industry’s only unified customer engagement and knowledge management software suite, eGain Solve helps businesses design and deliver smart, connected customer journeys across social, mobile, web, and contact centers. The suite consists of modular, best-of-breed applications built on a unique customer engagement hub platform, eGain CEH™ Platform, that combines 360-degree customer context, intelligent process guidance, and actionable knowledge to enhance every customer interaction. The web-services-based architecture of the platform enables rapid innovation and extension of customer engagement capabilities.

6.) 
FinCRM

FinCRM - CRM Software
FinCRM holds expertise in providing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and Full Stack Office Management solutions. The company possesses prowess in developing tailored CRM software solutions with integration of advanced features to empower your workforce and lead to the pathway of lucrative business opportunities. It also offers CRM integrated Office Management Software to streamline your internal operations, improve marketing proficiency, and upsurge productivity.

FinCRM is developed to serve several industries, including insurance, bank, NBFC, education, e-commerce, auto dealership, and more. The software is developed in such a way that any industry player can customize it...
(read more)

7.) 
MFE International

Creatio(formerly bpm'online) Process-driven unified CRM
Unified Marketing, Sales, Service CRM built on a business process management (BPM) platform. Award winning CRM .Recognised by Gartner, Forrester, OVUM, Nucleus research as leading marketing automation, sales automation, customer engagement, business process automation and dynamic case management software.
A new process-driven CRM and not the traditional CRM type.

8.) 
NetHunt CRM

NetHunt CRM
NetHunt CRM blends entirely with Gmail, placing the full-featured CRM right next to your emails. Everything you need is now available in Gmail inbox: customer profiles, deals and opportunities, data filters and views, team collaboration, email tracking, bulk email campaigns, and much more! Simple setup process, intuitive UI, and personal guidance of customer success allow quick integration.

Core Functionality:
- one-click lead capturing;
- pipeline and deals stage management;
- unmatched integration with G Suite apps;
- integration with Linkedin and other apps via Zapier;
- automated contact sync;
- bulk email campaigns, open and clicks tracking;
- dashboard, performance reporting, and tasks;
- full customisation.

9.) 
Noetica

Synthesys™
A complete contact centre technology offering including a flexible and highly configurable CRM solution which can be multi-tenanted, relational and visually configured. CRM entities are fully embedded in a sophisticated dynamic call scripting drag & drop solution which allows for complex process flows and integration to external systems for the delivery of an integrated intelligent agent desktop solution. The solution can be integrated to telephony for both inbound and outbound using the Noetica Voice Platform which is a fully featured contact centre telephony platform.

10.) 
Notoriety Group

Customer Relationship Management
We Offer a great service level to outsourcers, our teams are focus to provide an added value to end clients and our partners.
we provide services with excellence. Our customer centricity is our secret to always deliver a great customer experience.
NOTORIETY is your power to grow and thrive

11.) 
Vads

Customer Relationship Management enables you to focus on your organization’s relationships with individual people – whether those are customers, service users, colleagues, or suppliers.

CRM is a hybrid business solution that can increase sales and marketing efficiency many other key customer relationship matters. CRM platform enables you to focus on your organization’s relationships with individual people – whether those are customers, service users, colleagues, or suppliers.

Benefits :
- Help to see 360 degrees of customer view perspective
- Analysis to measure performance and gain new target and business insight
- Tracking and scheduling are centralized in one database
- Help to stay abreast and stay close each other, increase productivity.

12.) 
TrendzAct

Trendzact CRM
Trendzact’s CRM case management platform specializes in contact engagement centers with complex workflows or integrations. Our features, full customization, scalability, native on-demand AI and flat-fee pricing sets us apart from the competition.
 

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