How do utilities compare to other providers when it comes to digital customer experience (CX)? Still lagging, according to a 2019 JD Powers study. Released in February, the report found that despite an improvement in overall satisfaction compared to the prior year, utilities are still behind other industries when it comes to digital CX. The study concludes that utilities should place more emphasis on expanding and refining their digital offerings.

Although the report is a worthwhile read, our experience suggests that it doesn’t necessarily capture the rapid progress energy providers are making. From our vantage point, we even see energy providers leap-frogging technology trends, with many around the globe exploring and implementing a wide range of innovative digital solutions to better serve their customers.

In competitive markets like the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia, energy providers are already driving innovation at scale. Meanwhile, North American players in regulated markets are incubating and piloting new ways to digitally engage consumers.

One compelling example is Enel X’s Energy as a Service—a digitally enabled solution designed to help businesses navigate the increasingly complex energy system. Energy as a Service removes the burden of a business having to train and maintain internal expertise on energy management. Instead, a company can focus on its core business and rely on Enel X to dynamically manage energy assets and contracts. In addition to helping reduce energy risks and costs, this offering could help organizations integrate new solutions and technologies to create additional sources of revenue generation.

Enel X’s Energy as a Service points to what’s possible when a utility leverages digital to take CX to innovative new heights—and is willing to embrace a new paradigm for how energy consumers buy and manage energy.

In North America, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) provides another example of digital CX innovation. PSE is actively building a new connected customer experience. How? By creating digital channels that enhance existing services, introducing new services and offering innovative solutions to better anticipate and meet the needs of their customers.

Consider PSE’s recent launch of a visual interactive voice response (V-IVR), which provides a guided customer experience on a mobile device. The result is easier, faster self-service for customers and better containment rates and higher customer satisfaction for PSE. With the V-IVR experience extended to mobile devices, PSE and its customers can communicate more information more quickly. This digital innovation also reduces call volumes by empowering customers to engage in the channel of their choice.

Michael Dary

Industry Senior Principal, Accenture Energy Retail and Customer Services

Subscription Center
Subscribe to Accenture's Utilities Blog Subscribe to Accenture's Utilities Blog