Consumerism has transformed business models in the energy and utilities marketplace from a transactional to a relationship-driven customer experience to mirror the high levels of service consumers expect from Internet giants like Amazon.
With one third of consumers saying their biggest frustration is repeating themselves to multiple customer service agents, field service organisations are turning to digital transformation to help them improve operational efficiency. Half of field service providers say they will use emerging technologies – like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and smart video – to offer a specialised digital customer experience by 2022. How do emerging technologies like AI-powered smart video deliver the holy grail of enhancing the customer experience while improving cost efficiency? What other benefits can utility providers expect?
Smart video and customer experience benefits
For utilities companies including water and electricity, a single fault can involve multiple visits to customers’ premises for assessment and repair, leading to delays before normal service is restored. Data is shared during phone conversations with the customer, or via paper-based or electronic forms that provide the engineer with minimal guidance, sometimes leading to incorrect or lost data. In addition, engineers managing tight schedules can sometimes neglect to add all the details necessary for approval or processing of a job. Small wonder then that customer satisfaction levels are negatively impacted.
Using technology to enable digital self-service is one way to cut call centre costs and deliver a personalised, consultative approach in this highly competitive marketplace. The water industry is leading the way in digital customer experience by using AI-powered smart videos. This emerging technology empowers customers to perform “self-assessments” to report issues such as flooding and leaks to their provider via any mobile device – even when they are offline.
Through a platform such as Vyn SmartVideoNotes, a customer has the option to avoid call centre queues and simply record a short video on their mobile device. This video is based on a guided storyboard to ensure all essential information is captured. The solution is built to be intuitive and easy to use for a layperson, equipped with a completely customisable storyboard to suit the needs of the individual company in question.
For example, in the case of a water company, the storyboard could include a sequence of simple prompts such as “where is the water damage?” for the customer to film the information required to rectify the problem. When the customer submits the video, it is converted into a series of thumbnails, with AI-powered voice recognition technology converting speech to text captions. This is then shared with the utility provider’s customer service team. The files are automatically categorised into the existing case management system for remote assessment and further action, such as assigning to the most suitable technician.
When customers self-report faults through digitised video forms, customer support staff can gain a 360-degree view of the issue, eliminating the need for information to be repeated to multiple parties. Smart videos enable two key areas of opportunity for customer service representatives: rich visual evidence for accurate knowledge transfer between all parties, and faster issues resolution through smart recommendations on next actions.
Smart video technology with embedded predictive analytics empowers customer service managers to make better decisions to deliver the personalised, superior service today’s consumers demand. Intelligent automation of day-to-day customer service operations generates a ‘right first time’ culture, which increases customer service responsiveness and thus, satisfaction.
Achieving operational efficiency
Smart video technology not only enhances the customer experience but also improves operational efficiency. Within the water industry alone, one UK utility company saw a remarkable uptake in the initial few months of deploying Vyn for Service SmartVideoNotes: 56% of customers switched to recorded self-assessments. As a result, the number of initial callouts to customers was reduced by 32%, removing travel overheads to positively impact the bottom line. Enabling digital self-service for customers through smart video technology significantly reduces call duration times and means jobs are scheduled and allocated appropriately with minimum delay. Consolidating customer service data into one automated self-service platform leads to better data accuracy. Embedded AI in smart video means customer files are labelled and categorised for easy retrieval by customer service staff and technicians, which reduces utility team handovers by half too.
Not only does smart video deliver a best-in-class, personalised customer experience but utilities providers can expect increased workforce productivity and better optimisation of resources, which ultimately drives day-to-day operational costs down.
Find out how you can keep your field service workers and customers safe, by contacting us for a demo today at [email protected]
Image Source: Johan Godínez, Piqsels