Utility Providers (“Utilities”) have unique customer service improvement drivers. Unlike most other industries, Utilities are usually highly regulated and have exclusive or limited monopolies in most areas they serve. Utilities have less concern for customers switching providers based on either bad customer service or price dissatisfaction. Instead, drivers for improved customer service tend to be for protection of their limited monopolies, and for ensuring regulatory compliance.
Regulators are typically public service organizations and are comprised of elected officials. Public perception, therefore, is key, and Utilities are focused on controlling the public opinion through an improved customer service experience.
Utility provider customers who have relied on Jacada’s Utility process optimization and customer service improvement expertise:
Challenges in the Utility Industry
Utilities have the need to stay compliant amidst a sea of increasingly complicated regulatory requirements. Systems are increasingly being tasked with relieving the Agent from understanding all the implications of their actions, and need to enforce rules and regulations and guide Agents through the correct call flow. Penalties for non-compliance are usually severe, notwithstanding the potential social impacts of bad decisions.
For the most part, Utilities are still driven by legacy systems. Any solutions being put in place need to be cognizant of this and leverage and embrace these legacy systems. Rip and replace is not an option. Instead, these systems can be integrated, consolidated and made more “agent friendly”, all in an effort to improve first call resolution and abide by the rules and regulations promulgated by the respective legislative bodies.
To see an example of how Jacada has streamlined and improved the Customer Service Experience for a major utility, please see this video.
Self Service or Connected Service solutions for the Utility industryOur solutions allow you to reduce your inbound call volume through our mobile self service and Visual IVR offerings, as well as providing more efficient customer service in your call center.
|Improve Customer Retention
Jacada WorkSpace Agent Desktop
|Provide Agent Guidance and Next Best Action
|Enhance your IVR to improve self service
Jacada Visual IVR
|Solve complex regulatory compliance issues
Jacada Agent Scripting
|Integrate disparate legacy systems
Jacada Interface Server
|Automate routine desktop processes
Jacada Integration and Automation
Customer Service Challenges Facing Today’s Utility Provider
- Smart meter and smart grid projects which increase the integration requirements for current utility systems and the complexity of handling calls in the call center
- Requests for rate increases or expansion which subject to regulation commission approval and dependent on the utility’s customer service and satisfaction record
- Legacy customer information systems (CIS) and CRM systems which are misaligned with customer service processes
- Complex multi-year system replacement projects which do not address the complex customer service desktop and provide no additional call handling capabilities
- IT budgets and resources which are often insufficient to buy, rebuild or overhaul the systems, applications and infrastructure to address customer satisfaction issues
Utility Pains and Jacada’s solutions
Improved IVR self service– It’s no secret. Your customers probably don’t like your IVR. And in the Utility industry, IVR's tend to be quite complex. Navigating an IVR the old fashioned way is tedious and frustrating. The result? A negative customer experience with the aim of “zeroing-out” and finding a live person.
Now you can upgrade the frustrating IVR experience by providing visually guided menus on you customer’s Smartphones. Visual IVR dialing provides your Smartphone users with a convenient menu driven interface to your IVR. This allows your users to quickly select the options they need, saving them time, and you money.
Compliance and Regulations - The inherent risks associated with providing gas and electrical services requires that the utility provider do everything within its power to properly automate, monitor and enforce critical policies and procedures. If these procedures are left to the customer service representative (CSR, or agent) to remember and execute manually, the provider is at significant risk of not meeting regulatory requirements. By Using Jacada Agent Scripting, these regulations are easily enforced, maintained and recorded.
Billing –“Why is my gas bill so high?” Seasonality, or “high bill season”, faced by utility providers becomes an issue when high bills calls consume a great deal of the utility’s call volume times and CSRs don’t have a quick, efficient process by which to check a customer’s billing and usage trends.
The Jacada solution delivers an intelligent, unified view of the customer’s account history right on the desktop via an automated, call-type specific interface. For example, our billing module allows for the display of multiple bills in a side-by-side comparison, with visual indications of billing anomalies or deviations from the norm. This visual representation allows the agent to quickly identify, diagnose and resolve (or explain) the issue.
Emergency Orders – Utilities are unique in their requirement to handle emergency orders. Emergency conditions may be reported by passers-by who may not have accurate details about the location where attention is required. Typically, CSRs have tools to identify locations, although they may have to deal with the shortcomings of those tools. They may have to use multiple tools that are not very user-friendly and intuitive. Responding appropriately to an emergency call is extremely critical. In addition, CSRs are required to adhere to regulations and policies while responding to emergency calls. However, the applications they use don't enforce these requirements very well. As a result, utility call centers struggle with enforcing compliance without having the right tools.
To further complicate matters, emergency procedures need to deal with external entities (rescue services such as 911), requiring the agent to adhere to an exact process on another line, and following a company process on the other. By providing consolidated workflows, the agent can handle emergency procedures far more efficiently.
Jacada provides solutions that increase the efficiency and accuracy of the mechanism through which CSRs locate the premises that requires immediate attention as well as providing solutions that enforce compliance and audit trails to handle emergency orders with a “best practices” perspective.
Cumbersome Applications – Most of the systems (CIS) found in Utilities were built for back office management and were not tailored specifically to agents. In instances where applications have been tailored for agent usage, regulations often force agents to remember long navigation sequences and codes (writing RBA on a piece of paper is common) in order to process the non trivial requests. It results in a poor service level and high cost of operations.
Order Requirements and Lifecycle Management: Prior to fulfilling a customer's request, the CSR is required to review the customer's account(s) to ensure that the customer qualifies for the service requested. Based on the request, the depth and breadth of the review may vary. CSRs try to memorize the business rules and apply them as much they can. Inability to enforce these business rules has an adverse impact on the utility provider's ability to realize revenue.
In addition, an order could be in one of many states at any point in time. CSRs are empowered to provide a specific set of options to customers depending on the state in which an order exists. As applications typically don't provide the big picture in terms of the order lifecycle and the current state, CSRs inadvertently deviate from the best practices thereby exposing the utility provider to the risk of losing revenue.
Jacada solutions offer intelligent views of the lifecycle of an order and its current state, so that the CSRs can appreciate the process and help the customers appropriately.
Assistance Programs: Several assistance programs are run by third parties (typically government or non-profit organizations), and CSRs may not always have easy access to current documentation on those programs whose requirements & features may change periodically.
CSRs often find it difficult to explain the programs' features to interested customers, and are also challenged when it comes to sharing status updates about an application that is under review.
Jacada solutions offer context-specific access to documentation and ability to maintain documentation on an ongoing basis, in addition to offering workflow management solutions that provide the ability to conduct straight-through processing with third parties