Conversational AI for Utilities: The Key to Delivering a Better Customer Experience

Conversational AI for Utilities: The Key to Delivering a Better Customer Experience

Customers are rarely interactive with their utility companies unless they have a question or there is a problem regarding their service. The customer experience (CX) should be quick, easy, and helpful. 

Conversational AI is rapidly being integrated into the utility industry to help ease the frustrations of call center queues, operating hours constraints, and outdated FAQs. Most potential barriers can be removed when conversational AI is integrated into directory menus. Customers can ask for what they want or need help with, and technology will guide them in the right direction.

Competition is fierce in the conversational artificial intelligence (AI) game; many companies want to help businesses deliver the best customer experience.CX is quickly becoming an integral part of utility company's business models. AI can help produce and constantly ensure customer satisfaction, communication, rising revenues, and business success in an ever-changing world.

The Utilities Sector Is Uniquely Positioned for Conversational AI 

Utility companies are uniquely positioned because they are just a few organizations that every individual deals with at some point in their life. With such a unique position, providers must deliver a positive customer experience and stay competitive with other organizations in the industry. In a 2018 survey by Gartner, over two-thirds of companies consider customer experience the next competitive battleground; thus, the deciding factor between a prospective client choosing one organization over another. 

While many organizations proclaim that CX, when supported by digitalization, is vital to the success and survival of their organization, some are not so keen on the transformation. Consequently, the energy and utility sectors are relatively slow-moving ones. 

Gartner also identified the top technologies that will significantly improve customer experience tasks or projects. A business seeking to prioritize CX must utilize AI, virtual customer assistants and chatbots, Omnichannel customer engagement, live and event drive application architecture, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Delivering an excellent customer experience is the goal, and automation and digitalization tools can get you there even faster. The disconnect often comes because many fear that technology adoption comes with the loss of human or personal touch. However, conversational AI can help close the gap between cold automation and human interaction. 

Conversational AI helps deliver a personalized experience that can solidify the customer-company relationship. Every interaction with conversational AI resembles a conversation, using contextual awareness, and using customer and data collected from previous discussions. While regular chatbots offer some functionalities, conversational AI-powered chatbots imitate human interactions, can complete tasks that range in complexity, and more. 

These intelligent agents use natural language processing (NLP) to use all information within an organization's system. Specifically, Druid's platform enables companies to customize their virtual assistant, save time and money by automating complex tasks, and improve the overall user experience through quick responses.

Below, we dive deeper into just a few of the ways conversational AI is helping utility companies to deliver a great customer experience:

#1. Customer Service

This one is a no-brainer. Customer service success within the utility industry is closely tied to operational efficiency and crafting an engaging customer experience. Over the years, improving customer interactions required having professionals in human resources within contact centers, which can quickly hike operational costs. With a conversational AI-driven 

AI customer service solution needs to grow the teams and add to the overall experience. 

Utilizing advancements in AI, machine learning, and NLP, chatbots can now mimic human interactions in understanding and responding to various customer inquiries. Whether a customer has a question regarding a fee on their utility bill, need to update personal information, are looking for the status of their service outage, or other things, chatbots offer a modern solution to enhancing and improving the customer experience, limiting wait times, and having around the clock availability to support.  

Implementing chatbots and AI into your business's customer service can: 

  • Minimize pressure on conventional contact centers by at least half in just a few months
  • Maximize customer satisfaction by up to 35% due to faster response times and personalized interactions
  • Support up to 30% in operational costs optimization

 

#2. Onboarding

Traditional customer onboarding processes in the utility sector have tended to shift towards paper strategies, be time-consuming, and require a few touchpoints. This is not ideal for modern consumers who desire fast, on-demand access to accounts and services. Access is still pretty dependent on consumers physically going into a branch location. This accounts for another issue: the loss of valuable time for both the customer and the company, which can be incredibly costly and frustrating for the consumer. 

Modern customers no longer want to make a trip to an office location when completing the tasks can be done online, from anywhere. This is much faster and paperless!

Conversational AI technology enables a single platform that can easily handle many different tasks while ensuring legal compliance. An intelligent chatbot provides information about the company, the products, services they provide, and more, all in an efficient and seamless portfolio for new or prospective customers. When the client selects their desired product or service, the bot can help direct them through all necessary steps to have a fully digital and efficient onboarding experience. The chatbot is able to ask for and access all of the data a human agent could do, and often much faster. They can assist customers with anything from reviewing a utility bill, pulling up the service contract, asking for confirmation of entered information, requesting a picture ID, and more. AI-powered chatbots can be fully integrated with utility providers' applications and enable client data to be stored virtually, significantly benefiting both parties.

For more information on how conversational onboarding can improve the customer experience, click here

#3. Stress-free Access to Account Information

Modern customers expect constant access to their accounts and want their digital experience to be personalized as traditional, in-person experiences. Offering this type of experience can be time-consuming and expensive when utilizing human teams. However, with chatbot implementation, various details and inquiries are quick.

  • Amount due or last owed
  • Billing date
  • Overall consumption of services
  • Update telephone number
  • Payment plan options
  • And more!

There are so many ways to improve the customer experience by utilizing chatbots. They save time and money and provide easy access to vital customer information (beneficial for both the client and company). 

When utility companies take a step towards a more digitized future, we can actively improve current bots and make them even more intelligent, learn customer preferences, recommend new products and services, and offer energy-saving tips.

Utility companies are at the forefront of utilizing conversational AI in their industry. There is so much more work to deliver the best customer experience in this traditional sector of the industry. With digitization, utility companies can build stronger relationships with clients and improve their conventional business processes.

An overall excellent experience for customers emphasizes efficiency and speed. A great CX should leave a customer satisfied, feeling heard, seen, and valued. Below, you can take a look at our guide on how conversational AI can enhance the customer experience of the utility industry and how you can win in our modern, digital world!

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