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Digitizing the Customer Experience within a Utility

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Welcome to Transistor! The first ever strategic planning approach to taking the first steps towards building a digital customer experience within a Utility.

Drawing upon our independent research, workshops and extensive experience in customer experience, we have developed a foundational model for any utility looking to chart the course to stay relevant, be more effective (and competitive) as a digital customer centric organization. So what you’ll find inside this guide is a way to get the planning and preparing process started immediately to determine the roadmap you are going to need to build out, manage, and operationalize a lot of change.

Published in: Marketing
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Digitizing the Customer Experience within a Utility

  1. 1. Digitizing the Utility Customer Experience Julie Marsh, Robert Simon, Loudscout. TRANSISTOR
  2. 2. The first insight you need to understand is that all your customers, every narrow segment, is already a digital customer of their bank, telco, other utilities, preferred retailers and the list goes on. And 9 times out 10, they are getting a better experience with almost everyone than they are with you. The second most important thing to understand is that digitizing your customer experience means positively affecting your operating costs, your ability to manage and communicate with your customers and your ability to drive adoption of services or products that create a stronger business. Digitization means a developing new way of operating. Drawing upon our independent research, workshops and extensive background in customer experience, we have developed a foundational model for any utility looking to chart the course to stay relevant, be more effective (and competitive) as a digital customer centric organization. So what you’ll find inside our guide called, Transistor, is a way to get the planning process started immediately, to determine what you are going to need as a marketing organization to build out, manage, and operationalize a lot of change. Reality Check Your customers are already DIGITAL customers.
  3. 3. Competitive Scan: Finland
 The biggest mistake you can make is to digitize the way things are done today. Which is pretty much what everyone does and why no one is happy with the results.
  4. 4. Here are a few grounding points on Customer Experience: Whenever leadership starts talking about the customer experience everyone nods their heads, gets a little charged up and then Googles it. Because, well, we’ve never seen leadership be exactly clear on what they mean by customer experience and want they expect to achieve by focusing on it. 1. A customer-centric company places the customer at the center of its planning capabilities to deliver on what customers want above all other priorities within their organization. This is so true for a utility, whether we are talking about generation or distribution, people need energy and everything you do should be in service of that needs that. 2. Customer experience means enterprise level technologies and long-cycle projects to get them stood up and talking to each other. This is what finance thinks when they hear the CEO say customer experience, “We are going to need lots of capital and new partners.” And they are 100% correct. 3. Corporate culture and the behaviors it values and incentivizes are going to need to change, dramatically. Departments are going to share their plans for a customer segment, they are going to talk to customers, find and build solutions for them and measure their effectiveness at influencing customers and drive operation success. Yeah, change. Direct Impacts from the customer experience
  5. 5. Before you started learning and thinking about our functional customer experience model, here’s a quick checklist to give you a sense of where you are at today and allow you to determine what needs to change in your organization. Keep this definition when going through the checklist: A customer-centric company places the customer at the center of its planning capabilities to deliver on what customers want above all other priorities within their organization. 1. Your website and mobile capabilities report up into IT or Operations. 2. Marketing’s role is to drive conservation and issue coupons. 3. You have a trove of primary research and customer information but not a single segment owner. 4. Your website is non-transactional and you rely on 3rd parties for anything useful, like paying a bill. 5. Feedback from the field or CSRs is not sourced for making a better digital experience. 6. No one has responsibility/accountability for measure digital success. Yes No Maybe? 6 yes = a hard reset is in order. 4 yes = It will take few years but we can do this. 2 yes = Let get this done. Checklist for the work ahead
  6. 6. You and your customers live in a known but not necessarily predictable context. You know they are going to consume energy and can roughly forecast how much with enough data but you can’t predict the behavorial things that are going to change that consumption. Nor can you easily predict the macro environmental and political forces that disrupt everything with regulations, outages, you name it. How to get started And it needs to be simple. This will become your common, shared framework to be used as a planning tool across the organization. So again, it needs to be simple. The best place to start is by identifying the key influential episodes within the customer experience and mapping them to our framework so you can see where and how you need to take action. Always thinking about the customers end goal, identifying these moments, will help you begin to understand the strategic priorities from which to begin to build the foundation of the customers experience and is an essential step in creating a better customer experience. Our point is, you are going to need a framework to map what your customer is going to experience over time, versus, your ability to service and deliver.
  7. 7. Transistor: The Customer Experience Framework We’ve looked across a broad spectrum of activities and needs across a years worth of interaction between a utility and its customers and we’ve drilled it all down to 4 experience pillars where utilities can positively impact customer satisfaction and facilitate sustainable change towards a better customer experience. RECOGNITION Where you prove that customers are more than just a bill: Focus on: New Customers - Renewals - Outreach VALUE Where you prove that your customers are more than just a bill: Focus on: Call Center - High Bill - Self Service - Conservation Advice INNOVATION All the things you are doing to lessen Impacts and drive reliability: Focus on: Meter Technologies - Usage Report & Analytics - Peak Day Alerts - Environment Compliance IMPACTS Things that happen to the customer that are almost never positive: Focus on: Rate Changes - Outages - Extreme Weather
  8. 8. Competitive Scan: Finland
 Ok, let’s make this tactical and practical. Let’s take the Experience Framework and apply it to three worksheets so we can get a sense of what customer centric planning looks like.
  9. 9. Worksheet #1 The Pillars Recognition What are the opportunities where customers interact with your brand/organization where you can recognize them in moments that are most meaningful to them (hint, this isn’t the moment they pay their monthly bill, although making it easier for them is certainly a step in the right direction - that’s a freebie the Value column). This worksheet is designed to start to uncover opportunities against the 4 key principle phases, Recognition, Value, Impacts and Innovation. It is intended to start broad, so you can begin thinking about your objectives and extracting the critical opportunities to focus on, strategies to get you there and measure. Value • What are the opportunities where you can removing constraints that prevents your customers from receiving the most value from the service, products, programs available to them. In utilities today this equates to giving the customer control, over the things they have the ability to control like self-service, energy usage and consumption. • What are the moments you can intersect to help service the customer before they have to come to you. As a Utility you are in the business of solving problems. What problems will you solve for your customers? What problems do they currently face? What problems will they face? How will you enhance the customer experience through the four key principle phases?
  10. 10. Worksheet #1 The Pillars Impacts • When it comes to impacts, misinformation, no information, and lack of advanced information are typically responsible from a customer having reasonable expectations in the service and reliability of their utility, to quite simply, not wanting to be your customer. • Impacts is about striving to overcome the barriers that inevitably exist to avoid leaving your customer feeling dissatisfied and unfavourable towards the utility, products and services. • How can you influence the impacts of these outside factors to minimize disruption to the customer? Innovation • How are you going to learn, grow and solve problems together to create a sustainable long-term relationship? • How are you technology and infrastructure investments of value to the customer now? Strategies & Measures • In broad strokes, how are you going to get there: People, process and technologies. • How will you measure your success?
  11. 11. Segment [New Customer] Opportunties Strategies Measures Recognition What are the most valuable moments we can engage with and recognize New Customers? • New Customer • Renewal • Outreach How do we want to get there? • Create meaningful interactions with the customer • Organize around the needs of new customer • Provide multi-channel engagement opportunities to 
 inform, educate and engage How will we measure your success? • Activation of new programs Value Impacts Innovation Worksheet 1 - Pillars Across Segments [Sample]
  12. 12. Episodes are customer experience touch-points a customer will encounter with their Utility. Identifying them starts with knowing what your customer values, identifying those moments and leveraging them at the right moment to enhance the customer experience. In the Worksheet #2 example, we’ve used Recognition from our Customer Experience Framework as the core principle and “New Customer”, “Renewal” and “Outreach” as our example of identified opportunities from Worksheet #1. The purpose of this worksheet is to identify the Episodes of engagement that can influence customer satisfaction and improve customer relationships; directly impacting the customer experience. Leveraging these opportunities can substantially alter a customers perception of their Utility and how they engage with their Utility; including enrolling in additional programs. Worksheet #2 - Episodes Episodes are where customers interact with your brand / organization.
  13. 13. RECOGNITION Opportunties Strategies Measures New Customer What are the most valuable moments we can engage with and recognize New Customers? • Account creation • First bill • High Bill Alert • Service change How do we want to get there? • Leverage inbound calls to drive action and simplify the process • Provide relevant information to the customer before the customer has to come to us via brand.com, email or social media How will we measure our success? • Decreased calls volume to customer service (increased self-service) • Customer satisfaction surveys • Web Analytics - KPI’s (Impressions, Conversions) Renewals Outreach Worksheet #2 - Episodes: Recognition* [Sample] *Note: we’ve used “Recognition” as our core principle & “New Customer” as our opportunity) in the Example, but all 4 principles will have their own worksheet with your identified opportunities to link “Key Moments”to.
  14. 14. Worksheet #3 - The Playbook The Playbook is about identifying actionable tactics across channels that can provide direction that can unlock substantial value and create a better customer experience. Worksheet #3 has a sample set of tactics against a handful of channels against the opportunities we identified in Worksheet #2 for Call Centre, brand.com, E-Mail and Social Media. Completing a playbook worksheet can really give a team a realistic sense of what needs to happen against each and every identified episode. It will also help provide clear insight into what tactics will differentiate you in the eyes of your customer. The best way to approach The Playbook is to choose a Pillar (in our sample we’re chosen Recognition) and work down through the list of episodes, such as, New Customer, High Bill etc… Everyone Utility knows they need to win with the customer. The questions is how, exactly?
  15. 15. RECOGNITION Call Center brand.com Email Social Media New Customer • Proactively signing new customers up for self- service through their Account. • Auto enroll in paperless billing • Leverage Interactive Voice Prompt for inbound callers to introduce and promote programs and services i.e. paperless billing, convey benefits and encourage opt-in • Educate how to and benefits to view their bill online • Home Page Promotional support with CTA to encourage voluntary opt-in to i.e. paperless billing / registration highlighting the benefits that resonate with customers • Inform, educate, encourage enrolment - new products & services • Receive notification when their bill is ready • Receive notification when payment is due • Receive overdue alerts • Inform, educate, drive traffic to brand.com - to enrol in new programs & services • • Promotional support with CTA to drive traffic to brand.com to encourage voluntary opt-in to paperless billing / registration highlighting the benefits that resonate with customers - convenience, ease of use etc. • Inform, educate, drive traffic to brand.com - to enrol in new programs & services Renewals Outreach Worksheet #3 - The Playbook
  16. 16. The Last Step - Gap Analysis A Gap Analysis helps us reimagine, reprioritize, reset the customer experience and will help guide you from where you are to where you want to be. It is a simple, yet effective way to organize your strategic objectives based on the present situation and the desired future situation. Action items are then documented based priority and how you plan to achieve your vision and goals for a clear operating model that is aligned with operation priorities. There are 3 key questions we can ask ourselves to organize our strategic objectives and priorities based on our current state and desired future state. 1 - What are the opportunities available to us, new or one’s already being done that can be approved upon? 2 - What steps and timing will we work towards to achieve our Future Goal State? 3 - What action, people, process and technology do we need to be able to deliver a great customer experience?
  17. 17. Building Towards a Digital Transformation Once you’ve completed all 3 worksheets and the Gap Analysis you should have a fairly good idea of what capabilities you want to invest in and the gaps in terms of people, processes and technology. At the core of creating a positive customer experience is starting with a sound strategy that always starts with the customer. • Drive business objectives by taking a customer-centric approach • Frame the development of all experiences under a framework that leverages customer insights (analytics + customer feedback), best practices, and institutional knowledge. • Create mobile-first product design that focuses on balancing the needs for the utility and findability to satisfy the customers needs • Remove barriers, create clear, unobstructed paths towards programs and guidance content • Test and optimize as required.
  18. 18. Loudscout is a customer experience agency led by a group of content strategists, user experience and digital consultants who, over the last fifteen years, have been at the forefront of experience disruption We’re experts in customer experience transformations.Through design based thinking we connect the digital world to the physical experiences of your brand. We deliver on strategic planning, omni- channel campaigns and content that lives across optimized websites and channels. New York | Toronto | Vancouver | www.loudscout.co hello@loudscout.co

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