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Utility Digital Transformation: What Is It And Why You Need It

Posted on Oct 25, 2022 1:39:36 PM

To reach high levels of customer satisfaction in today’s world, it is critical that utility providers digitally transform their business. Technology helps utilities meet the needs of their customers, improves customer engagement, increases internal efficiencies and improves the bottom line.

But what exactly is digital transformation and how can it help your utility company? 

What is Digital Transformation? 

Digital transformation is when you integrate digital technology into your business in a way that changes how you operate. It’s a transition away from paper, spreadsheets and traditional communication, to digital platforms with a focus on the customer experience.

As a utility company, you likely already have some experience with digital transformation. Afterall, technology and innovation are drivers for supplying more consistent and reliable service to your customers. Not to mention, new innovations are constantly helping you create efficiencies, streamline internal processes and increase profit. 

Smart meters are a great example of digital transformation and how integrating technology can help your business. They not only provide real time information, but smart meters also: 

  • Provide more accurate utility readings
  • Give you better system awareness
  • Prevent workers from having to physically check every reader 
  • Reduce your business costs 

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Why Utility Providers Need to Digitally Transform

Digital transformation will shift the way you deliver value to customers, modify business processes and can even change your corporate culture. 

Here are just some of the ways digital transformation can impact utility businesses. 

✔️ Create new efficiencies 

Digitization helps simplify and streamline processes, improving the flow of information through your business and reducing the risk for human error. This will help save you time, resources and money. 

✔️ Improve data collection 

Digital transformation helps you gather data and track metrics so that you can make better business decisions. This will help you optimize your strategy and design processes for improved results. 

✔️ Increase agility 

The world is constantly evolving and changing. Digital transformation will help equip you to plan for and respond to these changes quickly and effectively. This will help keep you relevant and improve your bottom line. 

✔️ Access cost savings 

When people hear the terms upgrade or replace, they instantly see dollar signs. But maintaining old, outdated systems can be more costly in the long run. Not only does it cost money to maintain the system – it also takes more time and can lead to more errors. 

Digital transformation can help reduce upfront costs but more importantly, it will provide efficiencies and upgrades that improve the way your staff spends their time. 

✔️ Improves corporate culture 

When properly implemented, digital transformation can improve your employee’s overall work experience. That’s because digitization can reduce the amount of monotonous work, streamline your employees’ responsibilities and let them focus on the work that really matters. 

✔️ Increases profitability

All these benefits (and more) will ultimately lead to an improved bottom line. This means you will have more capital to invest into growth and innovation. 

Digital Transformation Customer Service

While you may have already started digital transformation by integrating technology, such as smart metering, into the way you deliver your services,, it’s important to remember that you need to digitally integrate your entire business to achieve the greatest benefits. 

One area that is often overlooked during a digital transformation project is customer service. 

But the customer experience has never been more important than today - even when there is little-to-no competition in your industry. 

Transforming the way you interact with customers is important. The most successful utility providers turn to the implementation of a utility customer portal solution. 

Signs That Your Customer Service Needs to Improve 

Here are some common issues that represent opportunities to improve utility customer service.

  1. Poor communication 

When information is limited and inefficiently passed around a company, it can be hard to make informed decisions, and this can have a noticeable effect on customer service.

When your processes are digital, everyone on your team will know exactly where they can access up-to-date information. Better and immediate access to information means everyone can perform their job, without miscommunication holding them back.

  1. Low customer engagement 

The digital world has changed how customers expect to engage with a company. Customers want personalized experiences. They want to easily receive information across all channels to make their life easier. If you’re not offering this, you’re behind.

  1. Too many manual business processes

Manual processes leave more room for error and can result in a negative customer experience. Queries get lost along the way, customer service representatives receive incomplete information, issues get sent to wrong departments and customer issues get pushed to the bottom of the pile. 

An automated approach to customer service will significantly reduce time spent answering repetitive queries, helping to improve the quality of information provided.

How to Digitally Transform Your Utility Customer Service 

A customer portal is a self-service option that significantly reduces the amount of time you spend dealing with customer issues and queries while improving the overall customer experience.

A customer service portal will  allow you to implement the latest technologies, including:

Sharing real-time information will provide the personalized experience your customers are looking for, which will lead to better customer satisfaction and less complaints. 

Book a demo of the award-winning SilverBlaze platform today to learn how the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities can automate your business processes and provide a better customer experience.

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Topics: Utilities Trends, Multi Commodity Blogs