Until about a decade ago, the world was a relatively simple place for utilities providers.

In most major markets, they were regulated monopolies, selling energy to consumers and businesses who had no choice about from whom or where to buy. Since they were so highly regulated, utilities companies didn’t need to pay much attention to the customer experience and focused mainly on running and optimizing their backend systems and processes.

No longer.

The utility marketplace today has changed almost beyond recognition. The experience that utilities companies offer to their customers today has a decisive impact on performance. Customer centricity, once an unfamiliar concept, is now a critical differentiator. And this global shift is being driven by two fundamental changes.

First, many markets are now deregulated – meaning customers do have a choice about who provides their power and the type of energy source used. Second, even regulated markets face growing competition from other products in the marketplace—with some corporations and even consumers choosing to go off-grid and source their power independently from local sources like wind and solar.

Utilities’ customers come into the light

The result? Focusing on customers is now a prerequisite for utilities in all markets, both regulated and deregulated. In the US, for example, the JD Power customer satisfaction surveys have become the de facto industry benchmark. By evaluating and comparing utilities regionally and nationally, the surveys provide an objective customer satisfaction assessment, while also highlighting any that are lagging in operational efficiency.

Faced with an increasingly competitive environment where customers have an expanding array of options, utilities have no choice but to respond by evolving products and services and creating new and more responsive ways of engaging, interacting with, and satisfying customers. These can enable them both to drive top-line revenue growth and better bottom-line efficiencies. The key to achieving both goals effectively lies in investing in digital technologies. Yet digital is not a panacea. Unless strategic investments are made to support digital capabilities and interactions, the results will be disappointing—a point underlined by Accenture’s regular New Energy Consumer research studies.

A customer-centric digital transformation can be truly transformational for a provider. Digital capabilities can generate benefits across the enterprise and all customer segments.

27%

Consumers that have made digital interactions with utilities providers their ‘new normal’.

1 OUT OF 4

Consumers who are completely unaware of the digital channels the provider makes available to them.

63%

Customers who prefer to use traditional, non-digital channels to contact their energy provider because they’re not confident issues will be resolved successfully via digital channels.

These benefits will manifest in three main areas:

1. Connected home

A big area of opportunity, with offerings ranging from smart metering to intelligent appliances, electric vehicle charging, and weatherproofing.

2. Efficiency

Moving customers from call centers to self-serve digital channels and social media customer service has a direct positive impact on the bottom line.

3. CX piece of things

Companies must manage expectations across the entire journey, whether customers are modifying services or seeking info on usage, billing, and outages.

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How we help

Adobe and Accenture Interactive are working together to help utilities realize the promise of digital to provide their customers with new experiences and service.

For example, by deploying Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) at the core of their digital platforms, utilities can compose, manage and deliver content across their digital properties on all channels. The control and agility that AEM provides means utilities can deliver a more engaging and personalized digital experience from the very first consumer interaction.

Advanced analytics available in the Adobe Experience Cloud provide utilities with the ability to capture, aggregate and understand visitor behavior across all their digital properties. Adobe Target and Campaign Manager enable delivery of the best performing content to the right audience segments, with intelligent recommendations to create a continuous uplift in digital performance.

Finally, Adobe Media Optimizer helps forecast the best mix of different media and then target budgets where they’ll have the greatest impact.

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