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Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better
 

Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better

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A joint PennEnergy/Cognizant Survey Report on: "Customer Self-Service: Challenges and Opportunities in the Utilities Sector." ...

A joint PennEnergy/Cognizant Survey Report on: "Customer Self-Service: Challenges and Opportunities in the Utilities Sector."
The consumer revolution has reached the energy sector. The energy customers of today are more demanding and more digitally connected than ever before. They want to have choices and to be in control. To better understand this tectonic shift, Cognizant partnered with PennEnergy to ask utility organizations how they are addressing the core issues of cost, operations, innovation and - perhaps most importantly in this changing industry - customer relationships. Read the report to learn more.

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    Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better Document Transcript

    • SURVEY REPORT Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better A joint PennEnergy/Cognizant Survey Report on: “Customer Self-Service: Challenges and Opportunities in the Utilities Sector” sponsored by: 2 Foreward 3 Survey Summary 11 Appendix 16 Glossary
    • Foreword T he consumer revolution has reached the energy sector. The energy customers of today are more demanding and more digitally connected than ever before. They want to have choices and to be in control. Customers also want the convenience of conducting transactions on their own and in their own time. They expect personalized services, proactive cost saving tips and better products. These expectations are driven by the customer’s experience with other consumer-friendly industries such as Banking, Retail and Telecom. Customer behaviors are changing, even as utilities continually upgrade their processes and technology platforms. Not surprisingly, individual utilities are at various levels of maturity along this paradigm shift. Some have successfully transitioned away from the traditional cost-driven customer service model and towards a more nimble and proactive approach focused on delivering responsive and personalized customer experience. Others are lagging behind. To better understand this tectonic shift, Cognizant partnered with PennEnergy to ask utility organizations how they are addressing the core issues of cost, operations, innovation and - perhaps most importantly in this changing industry - customer relationships. The results of that survey are powerful and unequivocal - consumers will increasingly influence the utilities’ customer engagement strategy. Customer savvy organizations are learning that one of the best ways to serve customers is to let them serve themselves. Those forward-looking organizations are reaching out where customers spend most of their time – the internet, the smart phone and social media. 2 PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Survey Summary T his survey yielded a number of key insights. Utilities can use those findings to define and implement initiatives that will help them better understand and serve today’s demanding customers. Self-Service: At the heart of a superior customer experience Enhanced self-service is key to delivering the experience today’s customers seek. We asked executives to identify their top customer service priorities. The response was clear: Utilities no longer treat customer service as a transactional means to reduce cost, and many have transitioned to focus more on the customer experience. Over 76 percent of respondents indicate that extending and enhancing customer self-service is an important part of their overall customer service efforts. Innovating customer self-service is a priority for many utilities, with 76 percent of respondents indicating they are seeking enhanced self-service features. Utilities are also working to launch self-service-oriented smart phone applications. Other Key Customer Service Priorities are: ::  mproving call center operations (67%) I ::  ntroduction or extension of smart meter analytics (61%) I ::  educing the overall cost of customer service efforts (61%) R ::  nnovation - Introduction of new products and services (57%) I ::  ntroducing smart phone apps (30%) I ::  odifying or replacing CIS (25%) M 3 PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better Survey respondents gave a number of reasons for why they were seeking enhanced customer self-service capabilities. Improving customer satisfaction was by far the number one driver for strengthening customer self-service, cited as top priority or important by 97 percent of responding utilities. Some 75 percent of respondents said improving business processes was important, or a top priority, when considering customer self-service. Other rationale included improving brand image, with 71 percent and reducing operating costs or providing new features, at 68 percent of respondents each. 4 PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better Multi-Channel Self-Service: Web is the preferred Channel To maximize adoption rates, utilities must employ the optimum delivery channel for various self-service functions. W hen given a choice in how to deliver and access self-service capabilities, the survey indicated that both utilities and their customers prefer Web-based solutions. That result is not surprising. The Web as a channel has evolved for over two decades, and in its current state of maturity provides all the service capabilities most customers expect. After the Web, Utilities’ order of preference for self-service channel is Interactive Voice Response (IVR), followed by Mobile and Social Media. In comparison, customers’ preference for channel rates Mobile and Social Media higher than IVR. One possible explanation for this disconnect could be the lack of other viable options for the Utility, as Mobile and Social channels are still in their nascent stage. However for the success of the overall self-service program, it’s critical that the utilities design their channel strategy based on the customer’s channel preferences. 5 Customers are very much at ease using smart phone apps to handle daily utilitarian tasks and to access banking, retail and other services. Utility companies are slowly gaining familiarity with this rapidly maturing channel, and many are launching apps for transactional features and online account management. Yet for many utilities, implementation of the Mobile channel is still in its infancy. PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better While utilities are focusing on multi-channel service delivery, it is important to understand and leverage the specific capabilities of each channel. The survey results highlighted customer-preferred options for various activities. The Web channel is preferred for all available utility self-service functions, including billing, payments, service order creation, outage searches and the filing of complaints. IVR systems are the second most-preferred channel for accessing billing and paymentrelated information and updates on service outages. This ranking is due to the limited interaction capabilities of the IVR channel. Mobile applications – and we will see more of them over the next few years – are preferred for electronic billing and for accessing information on outages and energy usage. Mobile payment channels are also maturing. Social networks can be used to accept and manage customer complaints, and to deliver information on service outages. To maximize self-service adoption, utilities must deploy the right channel strategy and should leverage the channels customers prefer. 6 PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better Key factors for success of self-service Technology, availability and reliability – along with customer awareness and education – are the keys to self-service success. W hat factors most affect the success of a customer selfservice effort? Survey respondents cited the following: ::  Inertia along with unwillingness on the part of customers to try these new services. (40%) :: Availability and reliability of self-serviceoriented technology. (28%) ::  ustomer awareness and the need for education. (18%) C ::  ecurity concerns were somewhat minimal. (10%) S To address those challenges, most responding utilities indicated that they have put self-service technology and infrastructure upgrades on their planning roadmaps. Utilities are also working to create greater customer awareness about their selfservice capabilities. Bill inserts (71%) are the most popular method to build self-service awareness. Social media (46%), direct mail and customer call are also being used. Incentives such as bill credits or vouchers are used less often as a means to create customer awareness and interest in online capabilities. 7 PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better The need for a transformation partner Creating a customer-oriented utility can be tough, and requires both internal efforts and strong external partnerships. U tility executives recognize the clear value of next-generation self- service capabilities for their customers and for their own organizations. Yet those utility leaders also recognize a number of challenges in their efforts to deploy self-service solutions. Survey respondents cited the following challenges they faced in digital implementation: ::  ecuring the needed budget was a primary challenge (67%) S ::  imely availability of internal resources (65%) T ::  hallenges of aligning with potential suppliers (64%) C ::  vailability of in-house expertise (59%) A While quickly evolving technology offers real possibilities for richer service channels and greater functionality, utility companies often struggle with how best to leverage those advances. Survey respondents noted that the lack of internal experience often limits the benefits they can realize from these emerging capabilities. Even when they have the needed resources, internal groups often cannot focus on critical self-service projects in a timely manner. This often leads to delays in the development and implementation of much-needed new self-service projects. For most utilities, digital implementation needs considerable internal effort and a very strong external partnership. There is a clear need for a trusted advisor and transformation partner to deliver the full value of a digital implementation. 8 PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better To Conclude T o keep up with ever-changing customer preferences, utilities must revisit their customer engagement strategies. The focus should be on understanding the pulse of the consumer and providing the best possible customer experience. The results of this utility industry survey highlighted the need for a comprehensive digital agenda to provide: ::  onnectivity across all available channels C ::  consistent cross-channel experience A ::  right-channel strategy A ::  mproved features and enhanced reliability in existing channels I Utility customers will clearly benefit from channel innovations designed to support seamless transactions and a more consistent and positive user experience. A better self-service experience will improve customer loyalty, retention (‘stickiness’) and adoption. Forward-looking utility executives can leverage these strategies to reduce operating costs, while simultaneously enhancing overall customer satisfaction. 9 PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better Survey Methodology F or this survey, we surveyed nearly 104 utility executives in North America. The survey sample consisted of electric utilities (78.8%), gas utilities (34.7%) water utilities (21.2%). The numbers are a deliberate overweight towards electric utilities, due to the major focus on customer satisfaction and energy efficiency in that sector. Survey respondents included senior utility executives in the position of Director or above. This sampling was selected to provide insights into high-level future strategies to improve the customer experience. With respect to the customer bases of surveyed utilities, over 35% of the utilities surveyed have more than 1 million customers. The focus was primarily on utilities with a customer base of at least 500k. This sampling provides insight into the customer service strategies of various sized utilities. 10 By surveying utilities across various market sizes and ownership structures, the survey supports conclusions about customer service strategies across various segments. PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Appendix 1. Please rate on a scale of 1 to 5 the top Customer Service Priorities you plan to address in the next 2 years (1 being Not Important and 5 being Top Priority). a. Cost Reduction b. Improving Self-Service Features c. Leveraging Smart Metering Data d. Modifying or Replacing the Customer Information/Billing System (CIS) e. Introducing New Products and Services f. Implementing Smart Phone Apps g. Using Social Media as a Customer Service Tool h. Improving Call Center Operations 2. On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being not important and 5 being mission critical) how important is Customer Self-Service (CSS) to your customer service strategy? 3. What are the key investments you will be making in Customer Self-Service (CSS) in the next 2 years? 4. Please rate how important the following potential benefits are when considering investment in Customer Self-Service (CSS): (1 being Not Important and 5 being Top Priority). a. Reduction in Operating Cost b. Improving customer satisfaction c. Providing New Self-Service Options d. Reduction in Call Center Call Volumes e. Improving Business Processes f. Increasing Sales by providing an additional sales channel g. Improving Brand Image 5. Please indicate which channels customers can use to interact with your company for the following functions today. 11 a. b. c. Bill Information & Payment- Kiosks Bill Information & Payment- IVR Bill Information & Payment- Website PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Appendix 12 d. Bill Information & Payment- Mobile Apps e. Bill Information & Payment- Social Media f. Bill Information & Payment- Not Available g. Outage Information- Kiosks h. Outage Information- IVR i. Outage Information- Website j. Outage Information- Mobile Apps k. Outage Information- Social Media l. Outage Information- Not Available m. Energy Usage Analysis/Goals/Tips- Kiosks n. Energy Usage Analysis/Goals/Tips- IVR o. Energy Usage Analysis/Goals/Tips- Website p. Energy Usage Analysis/Goals/Tips- Mobile Apps q. Energy Usage Analysis/Goals/Tips- Social Media r. Energy Usage Analysis/Goals/Tips- Not Available s. Move in/Move Out- Kiosks t. Move in/Move Out- IVR u. Move in/Move Out- Website v. Move in/Move Out- Mobile Apps w. Move in/Move Out- Social Media x. Move in/Move Out- Not Available y. Home Energy Management- Kiosks z. Home Energy Management- IVR aa. Home Energy Management- Website bb. Home Energy Management- Mobile Apps cc. Home Energy Management- Social Media dd. Home Energy Management- Not Available ee. Complaints- Kiosks ff. Complaints- IVR gg. Complaints- Website hh. Complaints- Mobile Apps ii. Complaints- Social Media jj. Complaints- Not Available kk. Enrollment for Products and Services- Kiosks ll. Enrollment for Products and Services- IVR mm. Enrollment for Products and Services- Website PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Appendix nn. Enrollment for Products and Services- Mobile Apps oo. Enrollment for Products and Services- Social Media pp. Enrollment for Products and Services- Not Available 6. Please rate the popularity of the following Self-Service Channels. (1 being Unpopular and 5 being Highly Popular) a. Kiosks b. IVR c. Web (Online) d. Mobile App e. Social Media 7. Please indicate the current status of the following Self-Service functions of the Online/Web Channel. a. Bill Presentment b. Online Payment c. Enrollment for Product and Services d. Outage Search and Reporting e. Energy Usage Analysis/Goals/Tips f. Move in/Move out g. Home Energy Management h. Online Chat i. Complaints 8. Please rate the popularity of the following Self-Service functions. (1 being Unpopular and 5 being Highly Popular) 13 a. Bill Presentment b. Online Payment c. Enrollment for Product and Services d. Outage Search and Reporting e. Energy Usage Analysis/Goals/Tips f. Move in/Move out g. Home Energy Management h. Online Chat i. Complaints PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Appendix 9. What percentage of your customers use at least one of the Self-Service functions your company provides? a. Under 10% b. 10% - 24% c. 25%- 50% d. Over 50% 10. What are the challenges customers are facing in adopting Customer SelfService (CSS) in your opinion? 11. What is your company doing to promote Self-Service to customers (check all that apply)? a. Direct Mail b. Bill Inserts c. Free SmartPhone Apps d. Contact Customers by Phone to generate awareness about Self-Service options e. Open houses and Public Forums f. Incentivizing Self-Service (Bill Credits etc) g. “How to” videos available over Web h. Promoting Self-Service over Social Media Channels i. Other (please specify) 12. Which of the following best describe how you manage Customer SelfService (CSS) implementation? a. Internal Staff Manages It b. Seek out Third Party Out-of-Box Solutions c. Outsource Development and Maintenance d. Hybrid Model- Internal Staff and Outsource e. Other (please describe below) 13. How much do you plan to spend on Customer Self-Service (CSS) initiatives in the next 3 years? 14 a. Under $500,000 b. $500,000- $1 million c. $1 million- $5 million d. $5 million- $10 million e. Over $10 million PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Appendix 14. On a scale of 1-5 (1 being Not Prepared and 5 being Very Prepared) rate how prepared you are in implementing your Customer Self-Service (CSS) initiatives. a. Securing Budget b. Right internal expertise/skills c. Availability of internal resources d. Meeting customer expectations/demands e. Integration with other systems f. Security Issues g. Alignment with suppliers/partners 15. Which of the following services does your company provide (check all that apply)? a. Electric b. Natural Gas c. Water d. Other 16. Is your retail electric service deregulated? a. Yes b. No 17. Please select the type of utility you work for. a. Municipal Utility b. Public Irrigation District/ Public Utility District c. Rural Electric Cooperative Utility (REMC) d. Federal/Crown Utility e. State/Provincial Utility f. Investor-Owned Utility g. Competitive Energy Retailer h. Other (Please specify) 18. How many customer accounts does your utility serve? 15 a. Under 100,000 b. 100,000- 500,000 c. 500,000 – 1 million d. 1 to 3 million PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • Understand, Empower and Serve Your Customers Better Glossary Customer self-service. Methods and processes that allow customers to interact with the utility at their convenience. Often used in a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) environment, CSS is used to handle account information management tasks a customer can and will manage on their own. Interactive Voice Response (IVR). Can include a range of voice-oriented selfservice methods, including automated interactive voice, interactive voice and video response, outbound dialing and speech-enabled self-service systems. Web self-service (WSS). Self-service delivered specifically through a utility’s website. Customers can sign in to a web portal, then update their account, request information or conduct a transaction. Mobile self-service (MSS). By optimizing the customer experience for mobile devices and browsers, mobile self-service extends WSS capabilities and supports interactions that can be contextualized with location, service history and other variables. Social. To fully exploit the promise of online self-service, utilities can provide an experience similar to that of the Web 2.0 and social networking environment, including forums, blogs, tags, wikis, video and online support. 16 PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by
    • About Cognizant Cognizant is a leading provider of information technology, consulting and business process outsourcing services, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industry and business process expertise and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. Cognizant serves energy and utilities companies with a wide array of strategic consulting and business process services solutions, supported by proven IT frameworks and accelerators. Five of the top 10 global utilities companies trust us to strengthen their businesses with solutions for plant automation and supply chain optimization, as well as retail, billing and customer care. Visit us online at www.cognizant.com or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant. About PennEnergy PennEnergy serves global energy professionals with the broadest, most complete coverage of industry-related information, with resources to help effectively perform critical job functions. This includes content from all PennWell Petroleum and Power brand and other industry sources, PennEnergy.com delivery original industry news, financial market data, in-depth research, maps, surveys, statistical data and equipment/service information. 17 For more information on PennEnergy’s resources for energy professionals and to subscribe to our free eNewsletter, visit www.pennenergy.com. PennEnergy :: SURVEY REPORT :: sponsored by