February 5, 2020

5 Ways to Boost Customer Experience for Operations Professionals

As an Operations professional, your primary goal is to ensure your organization is running smoothly. That means finding ways to improve productivity, reduce costs, and make the most efficient use of your organization’s resources. When everything is working in lockstep, you’re able to efficiently meet the needs of your customers and improve customer experience (CX). 

Of course, it’s easier said than done. I’m sure many of you are dealing with multiple processes/systems, some of which are still manual, and different ways of collecting and disseminating information. At a minimum this is inefficient, but it can also lead to inconsistent information being delivered to customers across your channels. If you’re trying to improve your CX, these legacy processes are probably keeping you up at night. 

Luckily, we have 5 ways to boost customer experience that will put some of your worries to rest. 

1. You’ve Got a Friend in Data

Between 60-73% of all data collected by a company goes unanalyzed.1 This isn’t that surprising. Trying to wrangle your data is challenging. Especially when it’s coming from multiple streams, in different formats, some digital–others not. To avoid being overwhelmed, start by analyzing the data that’s readily available. Then, identify areas where you can streamline processes and make small improvements. Leverage an alerts and preference management platform, like Notifi®. It allows you to effectively pull data from multiple sources, including your customer information system (CIS) and outage management system (OMS). Streamlining data collection allows you to deliver real-time data monitoring which increases the efficiency of day-to-day operations and reduces operational costs.2 

A Chartwell survey found that 34% of customers indicated that the estimated time of restoration (ETR) is the most important information in an outage and that customers expect them to be right. In fact, customer satisfaction drops if restoration takes place more than 15 minutes after the ETR. They aren’t impressed if it’s restored a lot earlier than predicted either, perhaps having made plans for an extended outage. Being able to consolidate data from your OMS and CIS in one solution helps you provide accurate ETRs by pushing information from crews on the ground to affected customers in their channel of choice.

2. Consistent Communication Across All Channels

Now that you have customer data at your fingertips, you can further improve CX through consistent communication. When you’re able to pull data from one place, you’re able to convey the same information to your customers no matter what channel they’re interacting with you. If you’re thinking that it isn’t hard to provide the same information to customers, afterall they can only contact you by phone or email, we need to talk. Because you’re missing an opportunity to improve customer experience by offering channels your customers desire.

Today’s customers want an omni-channel platform that seamlessly connects their interactions across all channels, including web, mobile, phone, and SMS. In other words, same information, different channel(s)–that’s the expectation. Giving your customers the ability to choose the channels that suit their needs also boosts customer experience, helping to create loyal customers. Research by Aberdeen found that companies with the strongest omni-channel customer engagement strategies retain 91% of their customers. 

3. Automate, Automate, Automate

63% of utilities indicate that their service providers are still using manual processes to share data with them.3 Perhaps you have a similar experience and that results in your staff spending hours each day inputting data and reports into your systems. As far as efficiency goes, this process gets a failing grade. Not only is it time-consuming, manual data entry increases the chance of human error.

It’s time to consider automated solutions like Notifi, which can send alerts according to highly customizable business rules. This reduces errors and the burden of manual processes on your employees. Imagine being able to set rules that would allow you to automatically send out usage reports to customers at a frequency of their choosing. Or automate incident reporting so your customers have the ability to report issues from their mobile devices. Utilities that have implemented KUBRA’s IncidentWatch™ map for streetlight outages often report saving time and money, removing the need for someone to answer a call and manually enter the outage into the system.

4. Leverage Technology to Keep Community Stakeholders in the Know

Effective communication is vital when it comes to keeping community stakeholders informed. Technology makes it easier. Creating a stakeholder portal, like KUBRA’s Municipal Portal, allows you to use outage maps to provide information about outages and any transformers affected. You can generate a critical accounts list for hospitals, water treatment plants, fire stations, and police stations that lets stakeholders specify restoration priority. You can also provide contact information or other notes for stakeholders about overall restoration plans and progress.

Empower stakeholders by giving them the ability to register for alerts specific to their area by email or text message. Information can be as detailed as updates on an outage affecting an individual account or outage threshold alerts about the total number of customers affected. When one client rolled out Storm Center™ and Notifi, it saw a 77% increase in proactive outage communications and an 18% reduction in inbound calls during outages. This new communication program gave them the tools to deliver a more positive customer experience. 

5. Find a Partner Who Can Work with Your Baggage

Like many utilities, you’re probably facing the daunting task of updating your technology and infrastructure to ensure you’re well-equipped to support the growing digital landscape. Digital optimization can boost profitability by 20-30%,4 but modernizing legacy systems is challenging. As a result, just 5% of companies report having achieved or exceeded their expectations on large-scale digitization projects.5  Perhaps you’ve spoken to some potential partners that have recommended you make wholesale changes. Keep in mind, a complete overhaul is time-consuming, expensive, and not always necessary. 

Sometimes taking a measured approach is the best, making improvements where you can, and learning how to maximize current technology. We recommend you find a partner who is willing (and able) to work with your existing systems, as well as any new systems added, so you can avoid regular system overhauls. Find a partner who understands what you’re working with today, who can make recommendations that work in tandem with your current systems, and who provides a plan for the future that makes sense for your organization and your customers.

KUBRA is a Partner You’d Let Your Parents Meet

Your company’s growth relies in part on your ability to find innovative solutions to boost productivity, decrease costs, and support daily operations. All this, while ensuring that none of these measures impact customer satisfaction. KUBRA products focus on removing the hiccups in the customer journey. From utility maps, alerts and preference management tools to mobile apps and billing and payment solutions, KUBRA equips you with what you need to keep both the bean counters at the top and your customers happy!

Sources:

 1 Jeff Barrett, Up to 73 Percent of Company Data Goes Unused for Analytics. Here’s How to Put It to Work, Inc., April 12, 2018.
 2 CIS Transformation: Unlocking the Value of Utilities’ Customer Information Systems, Cognizant 20-20 Insights, December 2013.
3 Utility companies and service providers at a breaking point, Utility Drive, June 6, 2019.
4 Adrian Booth, Niko Mohr, Peter Peters, The digital utility: New opportunities and challenges, McKinsey & Company, May 2016.
5 Alessandro Cadei, et al., Digital Transformation for Utilities: More Tortoise, Less Hare, Bain & Company, February 9, 2019.