The client, a major European energy supplier, provides electricity and gas to retail customers in its home country as well as generating electricity through nuclear, coal, natural gas and renewable sources.
As customers are changing their digital interactions with utilities—especially within the connected home arena—the client’s innovation division wanted to explore the possibility of a voice-enabled smart home service. This could allow customers to interact with the energy supplier without having to use a computer, phone or laptop.
The team operationalized an existing proof of concept based on Amazon’s home device, Echo, and the back-end, natural language-processing product that powers Alexa, the Amazon Echo voice service. The success of this connected home prototype suggested that the Echo/Alexa solution could voice enable many customer inquiries and interactions.
With Accenture’s help, the client built a production-quality Echo/Alexa connected home solution in just six weeks. The solution passed the Amazon app store certification on the first attempt, including a security vulnerability assessment by an external vendor. The client is one of the first blue chip companies (and only utility) to be involved in the launch of Echo products in its home country.
The engagement has positioned the client to better deflect call center costs through the increasing use of self-serve channels by customers. Customers can now take advantage of several customer portal activities, in a hands-free, voice-enabled, interactive way, to:
Submit meter readings
Request their account balance
Request their next payment date
Request their tariff end date
The client’s “skill” logged 600 unique customer views and 20 customer ratings within its first few months of deployment, averaging 4.2 out of 5 stars. The project helped secure the client’s reputation as an innovative energy retailer and connected-home leader, bringing the client’s digital strategy of “making energy easy” to life and setting a new standard for customer service and engagement in the utility industry of the client’s home country.
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