Aside from billing matters and service calls, customers historically have had little interaction with their utility providers. Today, that model is rapidly changing. New technology and the evolution of the smart grid mean that customers will continue to have more reasons to communicate with their utility providers. At the same time, deregulation has armed customers with the power of choice –so keeping them satisfied is critical to keeping them engaged and loyal.
Other industries have raised the bar for what customers expect from service providers. As a result, regulated utilities are playing catch-up while they develop services aimed at tech-savvy customers who have grown accustomed to calling the shots –and having companies respond. Tomorrow's utility will likely need a flexible organizational structure and supporting capabilities to harness the power behind an unprecedented amount of data. Companies can use this data to inform new product and service development, anticipate market needs, increase customer satisfaction, and boost revenue. The result should be a new, more collaborative type of customer relationship –one that puts the customer at the center of a utility's business strategy.
While modernizing the grid will likely create new value for customers and utilities, the need for utilities to reshape themselves around the customer will likely grow. In other words, a utility should transform or risk becoming a relic from a bygone era.
Develop the right customer strategy - change is happening and utilities have to make a clear statement about how they are going to be part of it or, even better, get ahead of it. Understanding the customer base, meeting their expectations in this new environment and tailoring the message to individual customers are priorities that can deliver enhanced value for customers and utilities.
Get ahead of customer needs - we can help address the big important questions. How are you going to deal with this ever-changing market? How can you optimize business processes to capture these opportunities? How can you be great at managing customer data and being right at the forefront of customer needs? Can there be an environment that is low-cost and high-customer satisfaction? All of this is changing with a more engaged and digitally savvy consumer and the traditional products, services, and channels or a traditional utility have to change with it.
Think smart about smart technology - two way communication lies at the heart of smart grid technology. Its effectiveness, though, relies on such communication translating into behavior change. Even with smart grid technology in place, customers have to be won over and there are many trust issues and other barriers to overcome along the way. Customer's smart experiences have to be motivating experiences for smart grid investments to deliver the best returns.
Have the IT strategy to match your customer strategy - whether it is mobile connectivity, web-based tools or better use of data, companies need to have strong IT foundations in place. Whether you are struggling with outdated systems or need a push to get the best out of new investments, PwC can help give you momentum.
With over 4,500 industry-focused professionals within the global network of firms—PwC’s Power & Utilities practice is well placed to help.
From customer-transformation tools such as Voice of the Customer, CIS, customer experience improvement and social media; to cost and process improvements such as billing and revenue assurance, Smart-Meter back-office integration and energy-efficiency program audits; to product and service innovations and technology; we have the people, solutions and market intelligence to help you navigate the profound changes you face. And come out ahead in the most critical metric of all — getting closer to your customer.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help you develop a winning customer-centric strategy.
Principal, Power & Utilities, PwC US