Today’s utility customers have more options for selecting service providers. They’re also more committed than ever before to conservative consumption. Meanwhile, utilities face an increasing need to replace aging infrastructure and upgrade operations to keep pace with evolving standards and regulations.
Given the current climate of the industry, there’s an increased focus on reducing costs.
Compared to companies in most industries, utilities have fewer opportunities to reduce spending. Most utility costs carry a minimal degree of flexibility. However, improvements in real-time data monitoring and analysis offer some of the industry’s best opportunities to improve operational efficiency and reduce costs.
By implementing and embracing customer engagement software, utilities can collect an enormous amount of useful data in real-time. Real-time data monitoring and analysis offer opportunities for major improvements in both resource management and customer service.
In the sections below, we’ll consider cost reduction opportunities and other benefits for utility teams that use engagement software for data monitoring and analysis.
The Benefits of Real-Time Data Monitoring
“Real-time data” is data that is collected and made available as soon as the data-creation event occurs. There’s no delay between an event and the appearance of its corresponding data point.
Monitoring real-time data involves tracking events as they occur.
For a utility, this means granular tracking of customer consumption, aggregated in short time intervals and with a high level of detail. This level of monitoring yields immediate insights into customer demand and the performance of the utility’s delivery system.
Monitoring data in real time helps utility managers to improve efficiency. Rather than spotting problems days or weeks after they occur, issues such as service interruptions or resource losses can be identified immediately. Quickly responding to inefficiencies helps utilities better manage their resources, leading to reduced costs and improved environmental responsibility.
Customer engagement software provides a single platform for customers and customer service representatives to interact. During interactions, both parties have access to clear and current data.
Providing real-time data to customers results in fewer customer service inquiries and reduced customer service costs for utilities. Billing becomes more transparent and customers can find most of the answers they’re looking for on their own.
When customers do have concerns, CSRs are equipped with the comprehensive data they need to resolve issues and answer questions. Rather than relying on general info or estimates, CSRs can provide personalized interactions based on readily available customer data.
Data Analysis Tools and Techniques
To benefit from the information stream provided by real-time data monitoring, utility teams can utilize the same analytical methods that are employed by everyone from pollsters to gamblers.
One important tool for utilities is trend analysis—studying data to spot patterns. Combined with anomaly detection (identifying outliers in data), trend analysis helps utilities to practice predictive analytics.
Predictive analytics for utilities involves forecasting future consumption by customers. This helps utility teams to better manage resources to follow ebbs and flows. Predictive analytics also improves preparation for special challenges such as natural disasters or resource shortages.
Integration with Digital Engagement Systems
Integrating customer engagement software with data analysis tools provides utility teams with a unified view of their customers. A unified view, also known as a 360-degree view, refers to a comprehensive snapshot of a customer. For a utility, this may include information such as historical usage data and a record of interactions with customer service representatives.
A unified view of each customer makes it possible to perform comprehensive data analysis that considers numerous variables. A unified view also provides CSRs with helpful information for addressing customer concerns.
A unified view is also a direct benefit for customers. A customer engagement system that provides organized data for customers equips them to monitor their consumption. Customers can use their engagement platform to set up automated alerts and notifications that help with consumption reduction and timely bill paying.
Data Monitoring and Analysis Challenges and Solutions
For utilities that implement advanced data monitoring and analysis, challenges may include:
- Integrating datasets from multiple software systems
- Detecting errors or anomalies from automated results
- Separating out valuable data from large datasets
Preventing and addressing these challenges requires a commitment to data accuracy and quality assurance. Robust security protocols and tiered oversight can assist with maintaining accurate and useful data.
It’s also essential to work with a software provider that offers customizable solutions and excellent customer support. Your software provider should be a partner who helps your team achieve all of its objectives for data analysis and customer engagement.
Seamlessly Integrate Better Customer Engagement for Your Utility
To improve data analysis and customer engagement at your utility, you need the right software. At SilverBlaze, we equip busy utilities with engagement solutions that enhance operational efficiency while helping customers seamlessly interact with your services. Request a product demonstration today to learn more.