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Deliver Consistent Customer Experience Despite Utility Service Disruption

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Customer experience and satisfaction are critical measures of success for utility providers. However, unpredictable service disruptions challenge providers' ability to deliver consistent customer experiences.

Some of the common challenges facing utility service providers include: 

Unpredictable spikes in traffic. These spikes are often related to service disruptions that challenge the grid’s reliability and overwhelm customer support. We see this most often with extreme weather (e.g., heatwaves in Texas, flooding in the midwest, hurricanes in Florida, etc.).

Price changes and pressure to keep service costs down. With ongoing inflationary pressure, utility management has become even more burdensome. Many utility service providers have had to make price adjustments to their services.

Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure. Security is top of mind for providers. The onus is on the provider to keep customer data secure and mitigate breaches that could cause service disruptions.

Common challenges utility customers face

The Value of Consistent Customer Experience

Despite the challenges providers face, utility customers demand consistent customer experiences. A consistent customer experience means customers have predictability about what to expect in every company interaction. 

Utility service companies that prioritize a consistent customer experience have higher customer satisfaction scores. In fact, 50% of customer satisfaction comes from factors that utility providers can control. These factors include timeliness and clarity of their response and how easy it was for the customer to access support during outages. The other 50% of customer satisfaction after service disruptions relates to outage frequency and duration.

To deliver the predictability customers crave, utility companies must offer more reliable, efficient, and accessible ways to resolve issues. They must also ensure the same for communication during service disruptions. Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs) and AI-enabled communication tools are two technologies that help providers deliver a consistent customer experience.

Utility companies that invest in creating a consistent customer experience set themselves apart from their competitors. 

50% of customer satisfactions comes from factors that utility providers can control.

IVA Use Cases for Utility Providers

There are several ways businesses can utilize IVAs to meet their unique needs. Below are a few use cases for how IVAs help utility service providers deliver a consistent customer experience.

Proactive Communication

Proactive communication and outreach are popular ways to leverage IVAs. Providers can use IVAs to automate, streamline, and enhance existing communication strategies in place. Texts and calls are two channels utility companies often use to send proactive communication to customers. IVAs automate this process to help utility providers stay on top of customer communications. 

Keeping customers in the loop is especially relevant during service disruptions. IVAs reduce strain on contact centers and relieve some of the burden and communications responsibilities placed on employees. This extra support enables utility companies to save time and money. One of our customers has saved $150 million annually by reducing 93% of live agent calls with Mosaicx.

IVAs also offer channel flexibility, which is critical, especially during outages. They allow providers to deliver consistent customer experiences across channels their customers might choose or have available during service disruptions. AI-enabled virtual agents can also leverage historical data from past interactions. This intelligence helps utility service providers deliver authentic and consistent customer experiences across all proactive communication channels. 

With IVAs, businesses can deliver fast, accurate, and frequent updates to customers during disruptions. As a result, providers will answer customer demands for consistent experiences.

One of our service provider customers has saved $150M annually by reducing 93% of live agent calls with Mosaicx.

Price Adjustment and Payments

Many utility service providers have had to make price adjustments to their services because of inflationary pressures. Utility providers can use virtual agents to notify customers of price adjustments or price changes in their area. This helps customers stay up to date on costs.

AI-enabled agents can also manage payments and debt collection notifications for utility companies. The IVA tailors notifications based on a customer’s location and preferred communication channels. This ensures customers receive the information that’s most relevant to them. 

Customers can also interact directly with the IVA. For example, the IVA can send an automated message to a customer about billing, service status, or late payments. The customer can then make or schedule payment and discuss payment-related information in compliance with security safeguards. 

Report an Outage or Service Disruption

In addition to proactive communication, IVAs allow employees and customers to report outages easily. An individual can notify the IVA via the channel of their choice about the service disruption they’ve encountered. Then, the IVA can provide updates about the status of the disruption, and when it expects service to return. Streamlining communications in this way relieves the pressure on contact center agents to own all the communications to customers. It also enables real-time updates about critical services.

IVAs also make it easy for employees to report a service disruption or outage. Utility providers can customize the IVA’s response options based on the type of service disruption and associated best practices. Below is an example of what it might look like when an employee reports an outage to Mosaicx.

Reporting outage and service disruptions process flow

Mutual Assistance

In the event of a service disruption, utility companies can leverage virtual agents to communicate response options and offer mutual assistance to other businesses. Mutual assistance has a variety of definitions based on individual scenarios. During service disruptions, mutual assistance is when a utility company agrees to support another provider to restore its operations.

IVAs can streamline mutual assistance processes to maintain consistent customer experiences. Specifically, the IVA can automate service disruption notifications to customers and partners. This automation helps providers maintain consistency and ongoing communication during unfortunate circumstances.

Mosaicx Adds Intelligence to Consistent Customer Experiences

Mosaicx helps utility service providers maintain customer satisfaction despite the unpredictability of the utility industry. Our IVA enables personalized experiences and facilitates natural and intelligent conversations that meet providers’ customers’ needs. Using Mosaicx, businesses can quickly identify opportunities to distribute proactive communication and maintain a consistent customer experience.

Utility companies power critical services and have a responsibility to deliver reliable and timely communications to their customers. IVAs keep providers and their customers connected despite the threat of service disruptions. By implementing IVAs, utility providers can deliver a consistent customer experience that maintains and improves overall customer satisfaction.