While a contact center's technical capacity to handle spikes in demand during outage events is a key factor for overall customer satisfaction, the quality of each interaction must also be taken into account. Customers still need to feel respected and valued by their utilities providers, and this means making sure each agent has the time and resources to invest in quality conversations. As such, it is vital to adopt an intelligent approach, by maximizing agent efficiency through the automation of lower complexity inquiries.
Implementing an intelligent approach towards customer engagement relies on the ability of all relevant parties to locate and access any data they need, as soon as they need it. Customers expect to be given information about their service instantaneously, whether that be about an outage, a payment, or a change of personal details; all customer information must be readily available to agents. Delivering this information effectively necessitates an integrated information estate. This empowers agents by providing them with the information and tools to provide quick and relevant responses to customer inquiries, boosting First Contact Resolution (FCR) and easing customer frustrations during what can be a very difficult experience.
During major service incidents, customers can become extremely stressed, and may have limited access to technology, so accessibility is key. Intelligent integrations to case and customer information systems can also inform and personalize automated messages, relieving the strain on agents and improving efficiency for customers with simple, urgent inquiries. More complex automated systems include the use of artificial intelligence, for instance AI-backed Unstructured IVR, which enables organisations to offer an even more personalized and effective IVR service. By introducing automation and taking pressure away from contact centers, agents can become more specialized, with more time to handle high-priority and vulnerable customers, or those with complex inquiries.
With customer satisfaction scores becoming ever more important for regulatory authorities, organisations need to ensure that they are delivering an exceptional service to customers. In order to do this, customer expectations need to be exceeded, especially when it matters the most. This means being contactable through any channel the customer desires, at any time they choose, as well as making the experience meaningful.
The Water Watchdog found that in the aftermath of the ‘Beast from the East’, a shocking 93% of those identified as vulnerable felt they did not receive the necessary support from their water provider. Connecting your customers to the right information as smoothly as possible is imperative, and this requires the latest technology. Intelligent call routing improves the targeting of the customer’s journey through your system and enables the prioritization of vulnerable and high-priority customers. Natural Language Processing (NLP) increases accessibility for those with motor difficulties, and can provide a personalized service which reassures customers that their specific issues are being dealt with.
Utilities providers face significant pressure during winter months to handle unexpected spikes in demand. But through investment in technology and the adoption of an intelligent communications strategy, every customer can have their queries resolved quickly and efficiently, without compromising on the quality of interactions.
 https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45573455  https://www.ccwater.org.uk/research/customers-experiences-of-water-supply-interruptions-following-the-freeze-thaw-events-of-march-2018/