Articles

  • Mirka Karra

Here are 3 ways to make your utility call center agents smarter

High energy bill complaints are a top-of-the-list issue that utility call center agents have to solve within a utility business. Reasons vary, but increases due to the energy crisis have now made call centers a key point of interaction between customers and agents. With the help of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems that store records about customers, such as account information and contact history, call center agents to have more information about the customer today than ever before, thereby allowing troubleshooting and problem-solving to evolve more quickly. Smart meter consumption data are able to enhance a utility’s internal intelligence by providing bill analysis, more detailed customer demographics, and even generating personalized savings recommendations for each utility customer. This information can be used by utilities to make their call center agents smarter, improve customer satisfaction, lower cost to serve, and even build more revenue out of it.


Here are 3 ways that call center agents can become smarter with more information from smart meter data:

1. Identify your customer

When a utility call center agent answers a call, they need to collect information from the caller to understand the issue at hand. This can happen more than once if a person gets transferred between agents. Enhancing your customer agent's ability to have a richer 360-degree profile view and an abundance of up-to-date information coming from smart meter consumption data helps proceed with the problem more quickly and efficiently, resolve the issue at hand, eliminate repetitive conversations, and avoid customer complaints.

2. Address your customer’s problem

‘’Why is my bill so high?’’ is a common question asked to utility call center agents. Some outdated energy-guzzling home appliances like an old fridge or a dryer, or the ineffective use of appliances, might add to the energy bill. In several markets, Time of Use tariffs can have a big impact when high energy consumption appliances are being used at peak times. Smart meter consumption data can enhance a utility call center agents view of the bill analysis coupled with useful information about the customer profile and characteristics such as a list of home items (installed appliances and their characteristics), the moments when high energy consumption takes place, the tariff contract form of a specific consumer or customer's personality attributes (behavior, routines, etc.). With these factors in mind, the utility call center agent can help identify the customer's problem and how it occurred.


3. Recommend possible solutions

Based on the smart meter consumption data, your call agent can suggest the Next Best Actions to lower customers’ energy consumption costs and increase in-home energy efficiency. Utility call center agents can also notify the customers about a new available or better suited Time Of Use tariff in the form of an upgraded energy contract to cover their needs more efficiently. Coupled with a holistic view of the customer profile, the agent can combine knowledge and suggest ways to improve the self-consumption of solar production for homeowners who own a PV, adopt a smart charging service to those who have a special EV rate plan, or invest in insulation or electrical heating to a client that owns a very old house in the country.