Read the first of a two-part blog series in which Engage Hub's CTO, Nicola Pero, discusses why data security compliance should be a customer service priority in your organisation, not just a box-ticking exercise.
Energy & Utility companies are under increasing pressure to improve their service and support vulnerable customers – while managing margins. How do you balance these often competing demands?
Intelligent technology has a key role to play.
Here are 3 ways utility companies can leverage technology to improve communication and offer more support – while improving collections, ensuring compliance and boosting operational efficiency.
1. Visualise and optimise customer journeys
To take a more customer-centric and efficient approach to payment management, you need to understand what customer journeys are truly like. That way, you see how people are using different channels and touchpoints, what’s working well and where bottlenecks are.
For example, what digital channels are customers using before and after speaking with an agent? If they’re on the phone to the call centre multiple times, you may be missing opportunities for self-service and automation – which would free up your resource and save customers time.
The key is to bring data together from all journeys, touchpoints and data sources, which is what the Engage Hub Customer Journey Tracker does.
The Customer Journey Tracker gives you a visual representation of all interactions in real-time. You can then investigate them to get deeper insight on how people move through each aspect of the support, marketing, billing and collection process. You therefore have valuable data helping you compare journeys against benchmarks, offer proactive support, pre-empt issues and personalise the experience.
2. Automate and personalise multi-channel communication
When you have that in-depth understanding of customer journeys, you can optimise communication.
For example, if a customer is known to prefer email, they can receive an automated email notifying them that payment is due. If they don’t pay within a few days, an automated SMS reminder can be sent. Both messages can include a link to pay online or by phone. If there’s still no response, a call centre agent can automatically receive a notification to follow up.
This approach personalises communication based on customer preferences and enhances their ability to self-serve. It’s more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than sending physical letter reminders. And it boosts engagement while freeing agents to focus on customers that need the most assistance.
3. Simplify payment processes – while enhancing security
There are 2 aspects to this, both of which are PCI compliant.
One aspect is enabling payments using Interactive Voice Response technology (IVR). This means customers can pay 24/7 by phone – without tying up agent resource. And they can easily make a series of partial payments, if required.
The other aspect is improving the process for agent-guided payments. The Engage Hub Intelligent Collections Solution can record 100% of calls, plus it gives agents a user-friendly guide through the payment process. There’s greater security because customers use their phone keypad to enter card details. And there’s no need to disconnect, re-direct or put people on hold while payment goes through.
Importantly, because Engage Hub eliminates data siloes and centralises customer information from different systems, agents have access to everything they need to deliver exceptional service – including the latest account information and outstanding balances. They can also send payment confirmations using the customers’ channel of choice.
See for yourself how Engage Hub can help you support customers and streamline payment management
Our Intelligent Collections Solution helps energy and utility companies drive engagement and revenue. It’s PCI compliant and can integrate with your business systems of choice, while delivering added value to your business and your customers.
By allowing you to automate and configure customer journeys across channels, you make payment processes faster and easier for customers. And thanks to the real-time analytics and centralised customer view, it’s never been simpler to manage payments while giving proactive support.