Improving Customer Satisfaction in the Utilities Industry
- September 12, 2017
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Let’s face it: the utilities industry is paying more attention to customer experience than ever before. A new world of innovative technology introduced by companies like Uber, Amazon and Netflix (among others) have trained customers across the board to expect a level of on-demand service previously unheard of, especially in the utilities sector. Power line goes down? Local residents expect it to be fixed within a matter of minutes. To meet these high expectations, utilities companies must adopt technology to optimize service operations and improve customer satisfaction or risk allowing one negative experience to potentially damage a brand’s reputation. After all, it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience.
Technology in the field
Service in the utilities industry is trending toward greater precision, intelligence and agility. For every contractor, organizations must be able to combine employee ability and project-specific details to optimize work assignments. Central to this is a contractor’s ability to communicate with equipment in real-time. With field service management (FSM) solutions, technicians can now identify potential issues, pinpoint specific needs and provide a solution via a mobile device before the situation snowballs. Added intelligence leverages data and insights to support greater awareness and isolation of the issue based on past trends.
Take a tech-driven power plant for instance. At all times, IoT-enabled equipment supporting a grid is sending real-time performance information to big data facilities which flags problems to a control center. This sequence of events triggers the dispatch of the appropriate technician who will arrive equipped with the tools, competencies and knowledge to handle the issue efficiently and effectively - in one visit. If more power plants embrace this innovative technology, the outdated and costly practices hindering customer satisfaction will slowly but surely dissipate. Outages and problems will be solved swiftly, resulting in happier customers.
The rise of mobile
The ability to make adjustments (identify faster routes, optimize service procedures, etc.) while on a service trip via mobile device is the true reward of today’s technology. Service professionals are connected at all times with devices that support greater data volumes (including pictures, access to Standards Of Procedure/Susceptibility Weighted Imaging/quality notifications, etc.). Contractors are better equipped to not just troubleshoot and fix an issue, but to communicate their progress in real-time with the customer - a much desired feature. People want to know exactly where their technicians are, and yet less than 5 percent say they’ve ever received such communication. There’s clearly still a need for change.
Organizations in every sector understand that in order to survive in an increasingly competitive market, they need to invest in today’s technology. Mobile FSM solutions allow companies to predict and respond to grid failures and other mechanical issues with unprecedented speed. Generator isn’t running as efficiently as before? FSM can preemptively signal to the operator that it’s in need of repair before it malfunctions. Once companies are aware of an issue, field service management technology can determine which service professional should be sent and ensures they have unlimited access to specs and maintenance history to complete the task as efficiently as possible.
Technology is propelling service into new territory driven by automation, constantly raising the overall standard of service. FSM allows utilities organizations to make informed, data-driven decisions and stay ahead of the curve, maintaining a high standard of service that ultimately leads to long-term customer retention and satisfaction.