The efficacy of Bots in the Utility Sector

We are in a world run by electricity, and even an hour without electricity would be disastrous. Our daily activities and basic amenities like cooking, cleaning, and sewage disposal depend on electricity. We expect uninterrupted supply and immediate assistance for Consumption Management from the Utility boards.

The electricians and technicians are in service rounds, clearing the issues when they arise, but the process must be more efficient because of the high demand we are facing. Yet another drawback is the support service timings. End customers expect 24/7 service, while the utility can offer only 9-5 services because of human resource demand.

Even if the recovery system uses automated systems to recover from the issues, interactive correspondence during an outage to the customer is too low. We lack hyper-personalized communication that conveys the following messages to the customers. Why did the failure occur? What was the cause of failure? How long will it take to recover from the fault? The rising electricity demand requires a system that bridges this gap between the customer and the service provider.

Robotic Process Automation and Bots

Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and bots vary in their application. Bots harness the power of AI and RPA to perform process automation by automating routine manual processes into system auto-generated processes. There is a rising demand for Bots for customer records management, complaints resolution, risk mitigation, regulatory compliance, billing and statements, and Payment Reversal/ Adjustment Claims in the Utility Sector. An ample amount of research is underway. Some of the automation processes are even in use widely, and the need is growing exponentially.

At this point of high demand, using communication automation in the utility system is introduced for many processes from the back office to customer grievances redressal through CCM services.

Dynamic chatbots, on the other hand, are used in interactive customer journeys. They are automated chats that simulate human conversations through Natural Language Processing (NLP). Chatbots could be data-driven communication in which customers can request data or an appointment. For example, an omnichannel chatbot (AI bots) for fuse-off calls. The bots interact with customers to get details on the application number and contact number to schedule an appointment or intimate service personnel about the failure.

There is a big difference between RPA and AI bots; they differ in application. Both are automated computer programs that help in automating regular mundane work. By automating these routine monotonous activities, we can save a lot of time, cost, and human labor. Both RPA and Bots have a rising demand in the utility sector. They play a significant role in improving the overall efficiency of the system.

Adopting AI Solutions in the Utility Sector

Digital customer communication harnesses the power of CCM for various purposes like billing, grievances, redressal, appointment fixing, and service calls.

Here are a few types of bots that are used in the utility sector to improve the efficacy of digital customer experience:

  • Virtual Assistants
    The AI bots act as help desk agents that imitate humans and provide a personalized experience to the customers. They eliminate the inconvenience caused while creating multichannel correspondence. They automate the work in a help desk using AI and omnichannel business communications.
    By integrating AI bots in the utility sectors, we can avoid long calls waiting over the IVR system. Customers usually dial in to enquire about bill details, subscription details, power consumption details, and service calls. All of these advantages come in a reduced-cost package and higher customer engagement. They are the best alternative for a live-chat service.
  • Bots in Accounting Services and Subscription
    Bots in accounting services help customers with utility service billing inquiries. The AI metering systems allow cloud storage of the billing data, and the accounting services bots can access these data and display customers’ consumption details and billing details.
    The consumption details may include PDF statements of their previous months. These bots encourage customers to pay their dues in advance or direct customers to the payment portal. They remind customers of their outstanding bill dues by sending personalized SMS to the registered mobile number.
    Besides, there are options that these bots can help customers in retrieving their subscription details or change of address in the subscription. If a customer plans to move to a new address within the city, AI-powered bots will help automatically update the new address of the customer in the records. Moreover, bots collect the details of new places to be transferred and allocate service personnel for smart metering installation for a continued subscription.
    For a new subscription, the customers can apply through real-time chatbots. The bots collect the data like names, addresses, contact details, and payment options. After the utility department approves the request, AI-powered bots send a personalized email to the customer informing the activation of the new subscription.
    By integrating bots into the utility sector, we can eliminate the need for human agents in the transfer activities or new subscription activities. Also, we save a humongous amount of time and money spent on the transfer of customers. By providing on-time service, we retain the customer, and we also increase customer satisfaction with seamless service.
  • Bots in Customer Grievance Redressal
    As discussed earlier, we lack an efficient system that bridges the gap between the utility service and the customer. We need to handle use cases like appointment details, and FAQs and remind customers about the outstanding dues. Bots can fulfill all these use cases.
    Some bots fix appointments for service requests and intimate the technician about the customer request. These bots have a conversational, interactive platform for customers to enter their grievances. If the customer feels lost in the portal, then there are bots with FAQs for customer support.
    The complaint bots receive the complaints and help the customer troubleshoot themselves or connect with a human agent for further help. This approach reduces the resolution time and increases customer satisfaction.
  • Bots in Smart Metering
    Smart meters are the internet of things that connect the utility and the endpoint consumer. The meters have wi-fi modules in them that connect with the cloud. These meters store the collected data in cloud storage, where it is curated. Utility companies can access the data that are saved in the cloud by smart meters. These data are curated and presented in a customer-understandable form by the bots specially designed for utilities like smart-meter applications. 
    Personalized information sharing with customers is possible through smart metering. It has opened new doors for utility companies to bond with their customers. Studies say that employing a CCM for customer engagement increases the bot’s efficacy by almost 55%.
    AI bots in the smart-metering systems offer the utility sectors an opportunity to have real-time communication beyond billing and pending dues. We can set up automatic alerts about the consumption pattern to the customers, including peak load and the peak time of consumption. This approach will be a very personalized alert and will help consumers understand their electricity consumption patterns. You can also set up business SMS communication for informing the consumers about unusually high consumption.

Improving the Efficacy of the Utility Sector with FCI CCM

By far, we understood that bots bring outcomes that are beyond expectations. But how can these bots be employed in our system? You can use a CCM that can do the following:

  • Control and track the messages in omnichannel communication.
  • Integrate intelligent workflows in the system seamlessly.
  • Single solution for all your digital needs

Choosing a SaaS-based communication strategy will provide a robust, agile, and cost-effective solution. FCI CCM is a unique product in the market because they offer:

  • Solution or services that are faster to market.
  • Hyper-personalized modular solution. You can choose your digital solution in a choice-based system. 
  • Offers a secured cloud platform that follows complaints and standards.
  • Reduces the dependence on information technology solutions and enhances the efficacy of the system.
  • An optimized SaaS solution.

FCI CCM reduces 85% of the time wasted in communication generation and 90% of time spent inventing the template for conversation. Chatbot correspondences are all automated; they give a human touch while conversing with consumers, with an 11% increase in conversions relating to customer experience. Meaningful conversations are driven through these CCMs that are hyper-personalized, periodic, and guide customers at every stage of the customer journey.

Final Words

An outstanding CCM solution should engage customers, uplift revenue, increase system efficiency, and be ready for future expansion. High conversion rates, low customer acquisition costs, increased customer retention rates, and a more positive brand image are the main objectives of every communication channel strategy. Therefore, to stand out from your competitors, it is mandatory to manage all customer communications effectively.

To have a better digital communication solution choose the best in the market with FCI CCM.  In this competitive market, only those organizations that will win the battle invest in CCM technology that puts customers and their experience at the center.