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Connected CX – driving enhanced business outcomes in Utilities

Parham Saebi
Jan 31, 2024

Leveraging a connected, market-differentiating CX strategy can help organizations in the energy and utilities sector significantly improve their customer services operations.

Utilities are interesting because they fall into several categories. They provide simple commodities, but they also provide critical services. They address public and private sectors alike. They’re used by businesses, and also by consumers.

In this article, we’re going to look at utilities in a consumer context, and how leveraging a connected CX strategy can help organizations improve their customer services operations.

The opportunity for enhancing CX

Like businesses in many other markets, utilities companies face perception challenges. In the UK, for example, customer satisfaction levels dropped over the last 12 months for organizations in most sectors – with the largest drop coming from the Utilities sector. This is happening at a time of increased levels of vulnerability, consumers needing easy and quick access to support from their utility providers, and increased ease to switch suppliers when things are not going well.

According to the Institute of Customer Service, customer satisfaction within the Utilities sector has fallen to its lowest level in eight years, dropping 5.6 points to 67.9 out of 100. The Household Consumer Perceptions of the Energy Market report produced by Ofgem also indicates that perceptions of consumer interactions with suppliers sit at the lowest levels since tracking began:

  • 58% of consumers who have contacted or attempted to contact their supplier found it easy to do so
  • 57% of consumers are dissatisfied with complaints handling
  • 37% of dissatisfied consumers cite long resolution times and 35% not having their query resolved
  • Only 45% and 54% of consumers found it easy to contact their supplier via phone and live chat, respectively.

These experiences are driving customer churn. According to Capgemini’s World Energy Markets Observatory report, UK churn rates averaged at 15.8%, but this is expected to grow as product and market choice opens up.

Failure to deliver the right customer experience and meet evolving consumer expectations and needs can put utility companies at risk of financial losses through loss of consumers and long-term reputational damage.

Connected CX – Driving differentiation

From these findings we can infer a set of guiding principles for an effective customer experience strategy. CX needs to be seen as a key differentiator in a competitive market. Utility companies need to adopt a consistent and holistic approach to ensure an effortless, personalized customer journey. This will empower consumers to be supported at any time and on any channel, removing points of friction and enabling low effort, high quality experiences.

Any solution needs to be flexible, enabling consistent interactions across different contact channels; it needs to facilitate a personalized service based on the customer lifecycle and need, at scale; and it needs to enable proactive efforts to build relationships and retain customer loyalty through exploiting and maximizing the utilization of internal and external data points to ensure a hyper-personalized service offering.

The key components of a connected CX strategy

What are the key components of a strategy informed by these principles?

  • A best-in-class operating model, leverages the “human in the digital loop” approach that enables support across the end-to-end customer touchpoints based on customer need and complexity. This will provide an effective and efficient value chain, driving scalable, resilient, consistent, and agile operations
  • The proactive availability of contextual, personal, customer knowledge across channels, helping customers to resolve their own queries promptly on their channel of choice. The better it works, the greater the take-up of digital self-service will be
  • An environment in which customer operations teams are able to own any customer interaction across the customer journey, enabling them to build relationships and see things through to completion
  • End-to-end visibility of data, providing a single source of truth for each individual customer and enabling measurement of effort and satisfaction across each touchpoint
  • The facility to personalize experience in every customer interaction, by integrating solutions and data points that identify individual customer histories and preferences to deliver a 360° customer view
  • Infusing AI and digital solutions into the overall service offering to drive improved, human-like, effortless interactions and immersive experiences, as well as augmenting the support team to provide the right resolution and next best actions as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Partnership drives enhanced business outcomes

These strategic elements can be part of what we at Capgemini call Intelligent Customer Operations – an ecosystem of connected, intelligent solutions working in synergy to enhance overall experience for customers and the organization alike.

A knowledgeable service provider with experience of enterprise-level customer services transformation projects can work in partnership with major utilities businesses and other organizations to improve customer and employee experience outcomes through reducing effort, optimizing processes and journeys, and reducing consumer churn to deliver enhanced commercial outcomes.

In the next article, we’ll look at the kinds of areas such a partner can support and the outcomes organizations can expect.

To learn how Capgemini’s Intelligent Customer Interactions solution can transform your organization to deliver more meaningful, emotive, and frictionless experiences with your customers, contact:

Meet our expert

Parham Saebi

Europe GTM Leader, Intelligent Customer Operations, Capgemini’s Business Services
Parham Saebi delivers innovative, customer-first solutions that provide real competitive advantage, operational efficiency, and increased customer satisfaction to his clients