How energy companies can further help customers in times of crisis

The energy crisis is continuing to unfold.

The latest price cap is expected to exceed £5,000 in the UK. As a result, many vulnerable customers are looking to their energy suppliers to not only keep their lights on but provide guidance and reassurance.

Good customer experience (CX) has never been more important. And many utility firms are looking at how they can harness technology, such as accessible communication channels and cloud-native solutions, to continue to support their customers through these difficult times.

In times of trouble, technology is the key

With a looming recession, and an ongoing cost-of-living crisis, customers are increasingly trying to get hold of their energy suppliers for support and guidance around their bills. By ensuring their contact centres, often customers’ first port of call, are fully equipped and value centres that deliver efficient CX, energy firms can show their customers they are the priority.

Genuine and empathetic human interactions have become crucial during this time of uncertainty. Many customers are anxious and need to have their questions answered and be made to feel like their voices are being heard. By equipping agents with the best technologies that empower them to provide a genuine customer service, energy firms can really show they understand their customers’ concerns.

The future of CX: merging automation and empathy

This crisis has created an influx of work for energy contact centres with the number of customer queries seeming to rise exponentially. To avoid putting too much strain on the verbal communication channels energy companies will often have autonomous channels, such as bots, interactive voice response (IVR), and FAQs.

It’s here that cloud contact centre solutions can make a significant difference. By migrating to the cloud, agents can benefit from having all the information customers provide across multiple communication channels consolidated into one place. This automated process creates easy access to information, enabling agents to quickly react and respond to customer requests and needs. All while taking the pressure off and allowing them to focus on delivering valuable CX.

Contact centre cloud migration has become a crucial aspect of an organisation’s progress and growth. Helping them not only become more reactive and agile in real-time but, ultimately, to survive; with the equal benefit of providing a return on investment of more than quadruple the size of its on-premise equivalent. Through these cloud solutions, energy companies can internally distribute and share their data more efficiently, and agents can receive the relevant data for specific consumers in real-time.

Planning for an uncertain future

Not all energy companies have the technological capability to fully realise the abundance of data at their disposal. But by adopting cloud-native technologies and integrating human and AI interactions into their contact centres, they can fully harness their data’s potential to provide the best CX for customers.

In some cases, the influx of customer queries, and a lack of technological preparedness, have led to longer wait times and agents not being equipped with all the information they need to help a customer once they reach them. These customer experiences can be reduced by harnessing the full potential of the cloud and taking advantage of technologies such as natural language processing (NLP) in the contact centre. This results in customers getting the answers they want more quickly through the channels that are most convenient for them. It can also free up agents’ time to deal with more complex customer queries. While simultaneously reducing data processing time and increasing the accuracy of the data inputted and analysed.

In this time of instability, consumers are looking to their suppliers for reassurance and empathy. This can be successfully delivered through meaningful CX. With consumers increasingly desiring to speak to another human being, energy companies must continue to put their contact centre operations, and thereby their customers, at the heart of their business. Ultimately becoming better equipped, through cloud migration, to provide the best service they can.

About the Author

Melissa Cowdry works at Odigo. Odigo provides Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) solutions that facilitate communication between large organizations and individuals thanks to a global omnichannel management solution. Thanks to its innovative approach based on empathy and technology, Odigo enables brands to connect with the crucial human element of interaction while also taking full advantage of digital possibilities. A pioneer in the customer experience (CX) market, the company caters to the needs of more than 250 large enterprise clients in over 100 countries.

Featured image: ©Fokke Baarssen