The Customer Experience Ecosystem: A Platform for Utilities
Apr 18, 2019
“The utility industry has begun to fully understand the importance of customer satisfaction over the past several years, and now many have dedicated leaders and teams focused on improving the customer experience,” said John Hazen, Senior Director of the energy practice at J.D. Power.
Our market observations in the last few years indicate that customers understand their utility infrastructure is being updated, electronic bill-pay is increasing, paperless communications are on the rise, and website access is going mobile, enabling meter-centric utilities to evolve to a customer-centric provider. Customer care service is increasingly feeling the need to rise to the challenge of this new customer experience paradigm. Advocacy services by customer care teams need to evolve beyond smart meter enrollment programs to wide ranging adoption of emerging technologies like charging stations for EVs, demand response and pricing rebates, marketing preferences, in-home display technology and appliance controls, roof-top solar, and other needs.
Leading utilities in the U.S. are embarking upon implementing programs that empower customers to make smarter energy choices and allow the utility to innovate through new business models and technologies. Recently, Nexant has worked closely with several such utilities across the U.S. and Canada, and have developed roadmaps and framework architectures that will help in realizing this vision.
We have seen that utility organizations need a unified set of tools that can streamline the customer experience in the general area of program and project application intake and review across areas such as DSM programs, load and generation interconnection, and other applications for infrastructure and facilities upgrade, relocations, consents to name a few. To achieve technology optimization, we want to establish a common platform for achieving the integration with back office systems and create potentially unique and tailored user interfaces for specific workflows.
Many utilities are converging on a common next generation customer platform to support customer services. This platform will enable full cycle business processes from marketing, enrollment, fulfillment, and work orders, to billing and financing. The core of this proposed solution will be a configurable work flow engine that intakes, tracks, and gives a transparent view to utilities-contractors-end consumers for project applications. The solution will enable campaigns for program outreach, as well as a marketplace for DSM and non-DSM products and orders, program eligibility verification, enrollment, rebate processing, and settlement. The common platform will also create and maintain the data flow for KPI reporting. The Analytics functionalities will achieve various capabilities around customer usage and behavior intelligence, personalized engagement, program and regulatory reporting to build enduring relationships across business and retail customer segments.
Furthermore, besides the above program tracking need, Utilities are promoting rooftop Solar PV, Energy Storage, and Vehicle to Grid solutions. Here, grid interconnection functionality is intended to allow users to submit application requests for energy resources (EV & ES) and load to electrical system under new tariffs. The solution will improve interconnection success rates and enhance customer satisfaction and experience.
Nexant is working with an ecosystem of key partners like Bidgely, SalesForce, and National Energy Improvement Fund (NEIF) to offer an integrated customer engagement platform that meets these emerging industry needs. The platform will act as a one-stop engagement solution for DSM, non-DSM, and emerging technologies’ outreach, project tracking, customer enrollment, contractor management, and actionable insights.