October 22, 2020
Using Digitalization to Strengthen Your Relationship with the Energy Prosumer
Maureen Coveney Bolen
Utilities are on a quest to digitalize, all under a shared goal of optimizing our operations, improving the lifecycle management of our assets, and better serving our customers, who have transformed from mere ‘ratepayers’ a decade or so ago to the savvy energy prosumers of today.
Utility customers are already familiar with how digital customers experiences can transform their lives. Due to the use of Amazon, Uber, and even our online banking apps, we think our experience with our utilities should be as personalized and connected as any other aspect of our lives. We expect to choose communication channels to specify how we wish to receive and potentially send information; we want to manage certain operations without placing a call to a call center; we want to understand where we are in a given process – be it a move to a new location or a question about our bill – yet we do not want “over-communication” about that event. We want quick and effective resolution within our preferred communication channel.
As utilities consider the best way to manage these often-competing concerns, they can create and execute an effective digitalization strategy sooner by leveraging delivery partnerships. Utilities should seek partners who have demonstrated that they understand the current pain points and needs of utilities and have created a comprehensive, cloud-based business process framework that can be delivered in a standard way while meeting the often-specialized regulatory requirements of each utility.
With a heritage and long-time focus on the utilities industry, Utegration is one such partner. Our industry experts enable utilities to accelerate digitalization and enhance the relationship with the prosumer through innovative, comprehensive solutions for core business processes. How do we accomplish that? Our Utility4U™ solution delivers end-to-end customer, financial, regulatory, and asset management capabilities for electric, gas, water, and wastewater services, all in one cloud-based offering which provides the Utility with a single platform to manage their process assets. This fully-integrated solution enables customer self-service via a multitude of interaction channels; state-of-the-art customer service integrated with all available digital communication channels; a guided resolution process that ensures customers’ needs are met within their preferred channel; and offers that make sense given the interests of each customer (prosumer) that the utility engages with.
In addition, Utegration helps utilities monetize their evolving product and service portfolios by offering a tailored, highly personalized shopping experience, facilitating the selection of products and services like renewable energy programs, home protection plans, tree trimming, and outdoor lighting programs. This unique offering enhances customer satisfaction and engenders loyalty, as prosumers want to do business with companies that understand and respond to requests in a timely fashion and anticipate how new offerings may also appeal, thereby transforming a utility’s relationship with the prosumer to a sustained, proactive experience.
Ready to get on your way to strengthening your utility’s relationship with the prosumer? Here are a few steps you can take today:
- Understand your market model. Is your utility ready to offer prosumer-based products and services to expand your customer reach beyond commodity-based services?
- Assess your business process foundation. Is it time to upgrade your process assets to achieve a higher degree of digitalization to support your business objectives and goals?
- Establish the business case for transformation in basic terms—for example, what should the budget be (total cost of ownership) over a 5-year period? Identify how key business metrics will improve with the implementation of a digital technology.
In the new utility world of customer choice, the quest to digitalize – deliver timely communications and effective resolution to customer requests across preferred channels and facilitate the right outcomes, all while potentially offering new products and services – increases loyalty. Now that’s an
outcome a lot of utilities should appreciate.
To learn more about Utility4U, click here.
This article was originally published in TMG Consulting's State of Digital Report 2020.
Maureen Bolen is an industry thought leader with 27 years of utilities experience and 15 years of experience delivering SAP portfolio solutions. Maureen led the original SAP AMI Lighthouse Council, established the early stages for Asset Lifecycle Accounting (ALA), and led the Nuclear Influence Council. Maureen is Utegration's Chief Growth Officer and currently leads the SAP CR&B practice.