Customer experience for utilities: 4 ways to cut costs in the contact center

With the rise of surging utility prices, utilities brands need innovative ways to cut costs and improve customer experiences.

Published ·May 13, 2024

Reading time·2 min

We’re facing a time in the utilities industry where both cutting costs and improving customer experiences are critical. Simply put, inflation is driving a surge in utility bills, customers are outraged and contact centers are overwhelmed.

There’s never been a more important time for customer experience for utilities brands. So where should you start? How can you be tactical in your CX strategy while also streamlining workflow and limiting expenses?

The key is to balance technology and automation with the cornerstone of customer experiences: the human touch. Here are four ways to get started.

1. Automate repetitive tasks

While things like predictive routing systems, chatbots, AI-based agent assistance and AI scheduling sound expensive, these technologies can actually help you reduce costs in the long run. Not to mention automation and AI are key to improving efficiency and productivity in the contact center, which makes for a superior customer experience.

2. Omnichannel is the only way

When the ultimate goal is to decrease your cost per call, omnichannel is the only way to limit calls into the contact center. It’s a win-win for everyone, since customers themselves don’t want to have to spend time on the phone if there are other ways to get things done. Enter: social media chats, website chatbots, IVR and self-service. Reduce traffic and calls by giving your customers ample options for communication.

3. Provide self-service

According to Foundever research, people don’t want to talk in a live chat unless they have to. Technology when it’s convenient, and a person when it’s not, is the key approach. So, what does that mean for your brand?

Self-service solutions allow customers to handle things themselves without having to bombard your contact center. Provide your customers with educational tools, Q&As, how-to videos, and self-service portals to pay bills, start and stop services and other simple tasks.

4. Optimize hiring and training

Improving your workforce efficiency can also help save on cost per call. Put an emphasis on recruiting, onboarding and continuous training. This means tracking every interaction between agents and customers with data analytics, so you can identify key trends and pick up on inefficiencies.

Lean on CX experts to create a training structure that encourages appreciation, support and ongoing development. Agents should feel like they have the right tools, resources and support to be productive — and by incorporating the right tech and training, you’re setting them up for success.

Harness a new kind of power by improving your CX

Utility companies face unique challenges — new competition from tech giants has added to already-evolving consumer expectations, and there’s a greater need to plan for sustainability. To strengthen relationships with your customers, consider offering support and education on new utility usage, and use data to generate more actionable insights. Learn what to do to connect with your customers and build better customer experiences for the future of your utilities brand in our best practice guide “Utilities CX: Harnessing a new kind of power.“