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Top Customer Service Issues and CustomerServ’s Call Center Expertise in the Energy and Utilities Industry

Energy Sector Facing Unprecedented Pressures from a Reshaping Marketplace

Energy providers are facing unprecedented pressures from a rapidly changing marketplace. Grid modernization, government regulation, technological advances, cyber-security threats, rising expectations from consumers and shareholders, and the falling cost of renewable energy sources are just some of the issues that are converging to disrupt decades-old systems and business models.

Customer-centricity has become a key factor transforming the landscape for energy providers, whether they’re operating in a regulated or deregulated market. Business and residential customers alike are demanding smart solutions to manage energy consumption and cut costs, thereby expanding the customer service model from transactional to relationship-oriented. Utility companies are finding that the road to success in the digital age calls for a strategic data-driven approach in which innovation and improvements are directed by customer insights and analytics.

In recent years, the retailization of the energy sector has spread across deregulated and regulated markets. Consumers have come to expect the same type of personalized experience from their utility company as they would receive from world-class service providers, including a transparent billing process, mobile apps, digital self-service, real-time communication and proactive notifications, among others.

For utility companies, investments in updating the power grid infrastructure and digital transformation must be balanced by optimizing operational efficiencies and cutting costs. Consumers want utilities to provide advanced technology and smart grids, but without raising their rates. Even as utility companies take steps to make the grid more resilient, they often find themselves under increased public scrutiny in the wake of severe weather events that cause widespread outages.

Top Customer Service Challenges for Energy Providers

Consumerism has infiltrated the energy sector and is transforming the service delivery models for both regulated and deregulated utility companies. Energy providers are expected to deliver a customer experience that rivals the likes of best-in-class service providers like Amazon and Apple, while operating with extreme efficiency to keep costs down and pricing in line with new competitors on the market. The following are key service-related challenges facing utility companies:

  • Presenting a personalized, consultative approach to customer relationship management. Business and residential customers alike are demanding solutions from their utility companies to help them manage energy consumption and cut costs.
  • Providing expertise and support for connected devices.1 
  • Employing customer retention specialists who can reach out proactively to customers to reduce churn in deregulated markets.
  • Developing service strategies that deliver customer value and a superior experience.
  • Putting in place security systems, protocols and training to ensure that customer data is protected from cyber attacks and fraud.
  • Having access to skilled staff to quickly ramp up or down to address call volume surges following severe weather and other sources of major outages.

CustomerServ’s Energy Call Center Outsourcing Expertise

To optimize efficiencies, utility companies turn to call center outsourcing providers for customer engagement. CustomerServ excels in both regulated and deregulated utility marketplaces, understanding the unique customer service and revenue-generation mandates for each. CustomerServ has already hand-selected best-in-class call center outsourcing vendors with expertise in the following regulated and deregulated areas:

  • Stead-state staffing for peak and off-peak support
  • Flex-staffing for unplanned events such as outages and inclement weather
  • Brand ambassadors, seamless to the customer
  • Deep expertise in gas, electricity and water utilities
  • 24/7/365 inbound customer service
  • Payment arrangements, billing, stop/start service
  • Energy efficiency, smarthome
  • Green energy
  • Self service channels
  • Live chat, email, SMS, IVR back office
  • Collections—1st and 3rd party
  • Outbound calls— warranty sales, maintenance plans, outages, etc.)
  • Maintenance reminders and appointment setting
  • Emergency dispatch
  • Meter reading
  • Field workforce support
  • On-shore, nearshore and offshore utility call centers
  • Bi-lingual Spanish and multi-lingual support

The smart home market is expected to reach $138 billion by 2023, with smart meters holding a major share of the pie, according to research by MarketsandMarkets.