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Christian Schacht
10 Nov 2022

Three ways in which E&U companies can leverage a data-driven customer service function as a business driver

The restructuring of the retail energy market has given consumers unprecedented levels of choice and flexibility when it comes to their energy needs. For traditional utilities, this means they need to reprove their value by providing customers with exceptional service, but also valuable new services.

Unfortunately, data suggests that for many legacy players, there may be quite a bit of ground to make up on the customer service front. According to market research companies Forrester and Harris Interactive, 75% of energy and utility (E&U) customers believe it takes too long to reach a live agent, while 72% are frustrated at having to explain their issue multiple times due to poor customer service and a lack of omnichannel presence.

To compete and win in today’s market, utilities need to treat data as a strategic asset and put customer service at the heart of the organization. This means reframing customer service from a cost center to a growth engine. Here are three ways E&U companies can leverage customer service to advance the business:

1. Customer service as a sales driver.

Every contact with a customer service channel is not just an issue to resolve – it’s an opportunity to grow. When equipped with the right information, systems, and tools, agents will become brand advocates, building rapport with customers to not only fix issues but guide growth for their brand.

The good news is that E&U organizations have a tremendous amount of data at their disposal to proactively identify customized recommendations and priority opportunities for each customer. An advanced customer service function can provide agents with access to these insights via a simple and intuitive interface. Suggested actions can be generated in real-time to guide a personalized customer journey and enable valuable cross- and up-selling opportunities.

For example, if an external data source indicates that a customer recently purchased an electric vehicle, one can infer that they may need a home charger or a home battery storage system. Even if the customer called to inquire about a bill or update their billing details, customer service agents can take this opportunity to engage the customer in a timely, relevant conversation about their needs – and meet them in the moment.

2. Customer service as a cost reducer.

There are two basic ways companies can boost profitability: 1. By increasing revenue or 2. By reducing costs.

Strong customer service can help the business reduce costs in many ways, but perhaps the most notable is in staunching losses related to customer churn.

As the costs associated with acquiring a new customer grow year over year and increased competition makes the playing field even more crowded, E&U companies need to be hyper-focused on customer retention.

Unfortunately, most large outsourced contact centers, the likes of which were introduced as a cost-cutting measure, are evaluated on metrics like average handling time. This has been shown to reduce incentives to improve net promoter score (NPS) and revenue per customer. In other words, a traditional customer service agent is motivated to solve an issue and end a call, whereas the business needs to create a model where service agents work to build strong, healthy, loyal customer relationships.

By putting customer service back at the heart of the business, companies can begin to refocus on the indicators that actually matter to their business – retention, loyalty, revenue per customer, and NPS.

3. Customer service as a brand differentiator.

Let’s be honest: for most people, calling a customer service line isn’t exactly an enjoyable experience. Which raises the point: what would happen if it was?

What would your customers do if they ended a call with a sense of accomplishment? What would happen if the agent connected with them on a human level and helped them solve the problem they called about and addressed another need besides? What would your company get if contacting customer service became less of a chore and more of a value-add service?  

In an increasingly competitive market, it’s more important than ever for brands to provide meaningful, relevant interactions. Customer service is one of the most important touchpoints within the customer lifecycle and one of the most impactful too. For organizations that strive to position customer service as a differentiator, the focus is on the customer and their needs. In this model, the customer isn’t just a passive consumer, but an active part of the ecosystem.

Repositioning customer service as a growth engine with Augmented Service from Capgemini

Due to the market challenges E&U companies of all kinds are facing, Capgemini recently developed and launched a new Augmented Service offering specifically for E&U organizations. Augmented Service brings together two critical components that help utilities revolutionize their customer service function:

  1. Rich data-driven insights to identify trends, unmet needs, portfolio opportunities, and priorities
  2. AI-enabled Customer Data Hub to empower personalized interactions and guide the customer journey.

With Augmented Service, utilities can establish a clear customer journey and omnichannel capabilities that drive lower cost to serve, higher NPS, lower churn, higher fix-at-first contract rate, and higher revenue per customer. With the help of Augmented Service from Capgemini, customer service is more than a function – it’s a strategic growth engine.

Is your organization ready to revolutionize your customer service function and transform it from a cost center to a growth engine? Capgemini can help. Download our Augmented Service brochure and contact our team of experts to schedule a consultation today.


Christian Schacht