Cloud-based Workforce Optimization Solutions Put the ‘Utility’ in Utility Companies

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Utility companies bear the responsibility of supplying essential services such as water, natural gas and electricity to their customers. Because of the significant role that these services play in the day-to-day functions of modern life, any inefficiency on the part of a utility company—from a billing error that leads to a disruption of service to a slow response to a gas leak—can have serious consequences for the individuals served. When it comes to addressing customer concerns, in other words, utility companies cannot afford to waste any time. Toward that end, today’s high-tech cloud-based software solutions are helping utility companies improve customer service by optimizing their workforces.

utilities customer service

Whether these solutions are utilized to support field personnel or agents in the contact center; or, even enable customers to resolve their own issues, they offer utility companies their best chance to streamline processes and ramp up customer satisfaction. Before these benefits can begin to be realized, utility companies must first opt out of their legacy on-premises hardware in favor of cloud-based software solutions.

Here are some of the areas in which cloud-based workforce optimization solutions work to empower utility companies to enhance the customer experience:

Fleet management: Because cloud-based contact center solutions are software-defined, employees can remain in contact with each other and their customers from any location. These solutions give employees a greater degree of mobility, which can greatly optimize the performance of dispatchers and fleet drivers. For example, dispatchers will have access to better communication and monitoring tools that help them easily keep in touch with field workers and track operations (such as meters readings, maintenance work and service installations) in real time.

Contact centers: Cloud-based solutions are ideally suited to support agents at utility company’s contact centers. One way is by providing automatic software updates for interactive voice response (IVR) and interactive text response (ITR) systems without interfering with any other agent tools. For example, updates can be completed without creating any downtime for systems used to field customer inquiries. Additionally, cloud-based solutions enable convenient, cost-effective scalability for contact centers with changing business needs. For example, utilities may experience a large increase in customer requests during a power outage, resulting in the need to hastily increase contact center capabilities.

Omni-channel engagement: Thanks to the seamless data access that cloud-based contact center solutions enable, past customer interactions can be analyzed and used to personalize brand messages across various channels (e.g., voice, SMS, mobile and social). This leads to a more cohesive customer journey from the initial point of contact to issue resolution—not only for the duration of any particular incident, but for the duration of the customer’s relationship with the company. Additionally, engaging customers across channels enables them to reach out wherever and whenever they want through any device. This also enables agents to proactively post tips and alerts in advance keeping customers prepared while enhancing customer trust and loyalty. Omni-channel solutions also help reduce the number of incoming calls by offering customers multiple engagement options and in turn reduce the number of incoming calls. Performance metrics: Cloud-based solutions provide contact center managers with tools to optimize agent performance. Network monitoring generates analytics on agent performance, which provide managers with data to help them determine how to improve the performance of existing agents as well as focus on training programs for new hires.  

Self-service: Automated IVR and ITR services provide customers with the opportunity to resolve basic inquiries without having to speak with a contact center agent at all. For simple requests such as finding out when a bill is due, customers can use the self-service option to get what they want without waiting on hold. Additionally, self-service tools balance omni-channel solutions to reduce the number of inbound incoming calls and help keep live agents free to handle serious inquiries. Implementing cloud-based solutions into utility companies’ contact centers provides a tremendous advantage for them as they strive to optimize the customer experience—by enabling employees to quickly resolve time-sensitive customer concerns. Legacy systems, conversely, with their expensive hardware and disparate channels, are costly, and they hinder service in an industry where every second lost may mean a decline in customer satisfaction and retention. To see more ways that utility companies use the cloud contact center solutions to improve customer service, visit: http://www.aspect.com/industries/utilities.