How legacy systems are damaging your energy and utilities customer experiences

1. Juni 2023 Posted by Darrell Mcdonald

How legacy systems are damaging your energy and utilities customer experiences

Energy and Utility companies have used the same legacy systems for decades to store vital company information and manage large amounts of data. But with modern advancements to tech providing the efficiency and agility it takes for businesses to grow without putting unnecessary strain on IT, those same legacy systems have become more of a liability than an asset.

Today’s customers expect more from their energy and utility companies, especially in terms of digital experiences without having to worry about their data. But at a time when the industry should be looking ahead as the way we consume energy evolves along with technology and consumer demands, they’re falling behind other industries–and it’s impeding their ability to provide critical services and satisfy customers.

According to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Utility Digital Experience Study, energy utilities fall behind other industries when it comes to digital experiences like apps and mobile-friendly websites.

These outdated computer systems are difficult and expensive to maintain and upgrade, and they can have a significant impact on the customer experience of energy companies in several ways.

Limited Functionality
For those who have been relying on legacy systems for decades, they may seem reliable and affordable. Companies may also be hesitant to switch to more modern tech because of potential costs, complexity, and disruption to their business. But legacy systems often come with a clunky functionality that can cause consistent delays and frustration for customers trying to access their accounts or make changes to their services. Between long wait times on the phone or confusing website navigation, companies wind up delivering a poor customer experience that slows business growth.

Outdated Technology
Legacy systems can hold companies back from investing in digital innovation. They’re not always designed to be compatible with newer technology or mobile devices, which limits an organization’s ability to address critical business needs on top of preventing customers from using the latest tools and apps to manage their energy usage. They’re also expensive to maintain, especially given the shortage of professionals skilled in legacy languages like COBOL. Without a comprehensive digital strategy and modernized system in place, it becomes as difficult to consistently meet customers’ evolving demands as it is to train new employees.

Unreliable Data
When you’re working with a patchwork of different systems, you’re sacrificing your data flow. Minor discrepancies in how customer information is entered in each system can lead to duplicate and ultimately inaccurate data. Even if teams work overtime to fill these gaps, delayed data analysis means companies can’t provide customers with accurate real-time data on their energy usage and billing information. This can cause customers to lose trust in the energy company and feel frustrated with their overall experience.

Security Threats
Finally, legacy systems can pose serious security risks. Some legacy systems haven’t been patched or updated since they’re no longer supported by their manufacturers, meaning they may no longer be compliant with the latest security protocols or protected against the latest malware. This leads to valuable customer data being exposed to security breaches that can not only impact the trust customers have in their services, but also your company’s reputation and revenue.

It’s Time to Modernize
Overall, legacy systems hurt the customer experience by causing delays, reducing convenience, and compromising data security. It’s crucial for energy companies to be proactive, invest in digital transformation and modernize their systems to provide a seamless and personalized experience for their customers and ensure long-term business growth.

This is where HCLSoftware’s UCX platform comes in. The UCX Platform empowers energy and utility companies to transform their customer experience through digital innovation. By creating immersive and seamless digital experiences, these companies can boost customer satisfaction, retention rates, and ultimately, their bottom line. With the UCX Platform, energy and utility companies can stand out in a crowded market and stay ahead of their competition.

How Energy and Utility companies can better serve low-income households

1. Juni 2023 Posted by Darrell Mcdonald

How Energy and Utility companies can better serve low-income households

In the modern utility landscape, customer demands are evolving rapidly alongside technology. If companies don’t simplify their processes and communicate clearly with customers, they may not be able to meet these evolving needs. This is particularly critical when it comes to the oftentimes underserved low-income households that make up a considerable portion of energy and utilities customer base. About 44% of U.S. households – or about 50 million – are defined as low-income, and the average national energy burden for these households can be as high as 30%.

Every customer deserves equal access to clean, reliable and affordable energy. By leveraging the right modern technologies, providers can deliver the right services and solutions at the right time and build trust with their customers. Some companies may see modernizing operations as a huge overhaul that risks interruption to critical services, but HCLSoftware’s new UCX platform makes the process seamless.

Prioritize customer needs
Energy and utility-specific digital solutions allow you to meet the evolving needs of your customers in real time. Energy and Utility companies need to provide personalized support for every customer, including self-service features and assistance programs that build trust and ensure customers feel their specific needs are being addressed.

Customer Service: Allow customers to get information about their accounts and services quickly via custom chatbots and self-service portals, whenever they need it.

Bill Payment Assistance: Offer a variety of payment options, like installment plans and discounts, to customers who may be struggling to keep up with their bills.

Energy Assistance Programs: Provide customers with information about available energy assistance programs and guide them through the application process.

Keep customers in the know
It’s time for Energy and Utility companies to build custom solutions that prioritize each customer’s needs and provide them with personalized recommendations. That way, low-income households can understand what options are available to them before making difficult financial tradeoffs to pay their energy bill.

Personalized Messaging: Send personalized information about payment assistance programs, energy-saving tips, or special offers on energy-efficient appliances.

Education and Outreach: Provide customers with relevant information about energy conservation, energy assistance programs, and more.

Community Outreach: Allow customers to connect via online forums or social media groups where they can share energy-saving tips and ask questions about their services. Companies can also use these platforms to promote events, workshops, and other initiatives aimed at helping low-income customers save energy and money.

Make your services more accessible
Energy and Utility companies need to provide customers with a direct line to their services. As part of your digital transformation, giving customers easier access to their account and services through mobile apps makes it quicker to resolve issues and provide critical information, while reducing the need for in-person interactions and time-consuming support processes.

Self-Service Portals: Provide easy-to-use online tools customers can use to pay their bills, manage their accounts, and report outages from home.

Mobile Apps: Allow customers to manage their accounts, pay bills, and get outage alerts and energy-saving tips on the go via user-friendly mobile apps.

Energy Usage Management: Let customers know how to reduce their energy consumption and suggest the best energy-efficient appliances and practices.

Choose UCX
The UCX platform is a powerful tool for energy and utility companies that want to better serve their low-income households by providing custom digital solutions that meet every customer’s specific needs. By modernizing operations through digital transformation, companies can provide personalized, user-friendly experiences that make it easier for customers to manage their accounts and save money on energy bills.