Our customer service communication preferences often come down to a trade-off between urgency and complexity of what we, as users, are trying to accomplish.
- Have a simple message that doesn’t really demand a prompt response? Facebook might do the trick.
- Less urgent, but more complicated? Email should do.
- Need something immediate? Call.
Utilities have a particularly urgent mission to keep the power on and, thus, unique imperatives for communication with their customers. Users don’t just want power; their lives actually depend upon it. Simplicity is the name of the game.
- Power goes out? Call.
- Want an update to know when it will be up and running? Proactively call.
- Notified with a warning that it might be shut off? Call.
I’m looking forward to gathering with our nation’s utility leaders at the CS Week Conference in Charlotte, NC, April 28-May 1, to discuss the new frontier in technology, solutions and practices that improve utility customer service.
In this market, automated solutions like IVR aren’t just a “nice to have;” they are absolutely critical channels. When approached intelligently, inbound and proactive outbound solutions have the power to transform urgent utility conversations into straightforward, reassuring customer experiences.
West recently brought dynamic self-service to light for one of the top U.S. utilities. The company, serving well over a million customers, needed to upgrade its front end IVR applications to effectively handle time-sensitive customer communication around emergencies, outage updates and payments. By gathering requirements and conducting thorough assessments on the front end of the project, West significantly sped up the IVR development process. From customer journey mapping, human factors analysis and roundtables, to WOZ testing, the design was complete in a matter of weeks.
Layered with predictive intent modeling and strategic natural language, the conversational IVR offers a consistent, customized user experience, no matter the customer’s intent. The results have shown that average cost per call decreases, customer satisfaction rates increase, and context awareness improves containment rates – in this case, by 12 percent and counting.
This is just one case of smart, innovative, carefully executed solutions making a substantial difference in the utility customer experience. West has been supporting utility customers for 20+ years, and we always look forward to attending workshops and conversing with utility professionals at CS Week – the premier utility customer service conference for managers and executives at investor-owned utilities, cooperatives, municipalities and government entities.
If you’ll be in Charlotte next week, please come find me and my colleagues at Booth #236, and reach out if you’d like to arrange a meeting.
Whether you’ll be there in person or just in spirit, join our conversation on social media #PowerConnected.