Electric Companies and Grid Modernization
Last month, we discussed the challenges facing the utilities industry as it moves to a modernized power grid. One of those challenges is the growing customer demand for more control over their electricity consumption and for more access to smart technology. While more electric companies are becoming aware of what customers want, we wanted to know if they’re actually meeting the demand for smarter, greener technology.
We should take a step back and say that we are located in Vermont, and we can be a little biased. For Vermonters, being green is easy. You can’t throw a rock in this state without hitting a solar panel or an electric car charging station. We recognize that those luxuries aren’t as readily available in other states.
So what about the power industry as a whole? Are utility companies across the country focusing on grid modernization with a customer centric approach?
What Customers Want from Power Companies
According to Forbes, 75 percent of businesses list customer experience as the largest driver of investment in two recent surveys. To help them understand the customer experience, many utility providers are leveraging more advanced technology in the contact center. Green Tech Media reports that the U.S. utilities industry plans to spend $20 billion on customer analytics through 2021.
Using advanced technology, such as speech analytics, in the contact center can help electric companies analyze that data more efficiently. No matter how they acquire and analyze the data, it’s apparently paying off. Smartgrid.gov reports that consumer engagement programs, such as Time-of-Use Programs, Net Metering, and other financial incentives are on the rise.
Ultimately, once call centers understand what customers want, they can create a collaborative relationship with customers to provide powerful insights into how to best reshape the nation’s power supply. Using this intelligence, the power sector can develop a sophisticated new model that incorporates renewables and smart technologies, and offers customers greater choices and more control over their energy use.
Most companies understand that listening to customers’ needs can improve customer engagement, which ultimately leads to a healthier bottom line. In the utilities industry, the simple act of listening to customers can create a healthier environment through green technology, even outside the Green Mountain State.