Utility organisations today are struggling to find a way to more effectively and efficiently provide their customers with basic information, including totals and breakdowns of amount due, ways to lower energy usage, promotions and more. It has been found that the service companies themselves may need a bit of "servicing" to help better educate customers on campaigns such as renewable energy initiatives and building awareness of new regulations, while also lowering their overhead IT costs.
This presents utility companies with the opportunity to combine the powers of IT and marketing to optimise communication with customers while enhancing the workflow of their IT operations.
Utilities' customer communications are centred on the bill - and that is where this education begins. Infoprint's approach has been driven by the realisation that 25-35 percent of call centre activity is related to inquiries on customer billing statements. We began this project with three objectives:
1. Improve clarity and comprehension of customer invoices to reduce call centre calls by 20 percent
2. Influence customer behaviour through education to reduce energy consumption
3. Lower overall cost of statement operations through process automation
To achieve this, companies seek assistance from industry experts to help architect a solution, manage the implementation processes, and measure these new tactics.
Key to success
Enlisting an outside party to coordinate, deploy, track and manage a process as large as this is one of the keys to the company's success. Often a utility company, similar to other organisations, may not see a piece of the bigger picture as there are no fresh eyes looking at the issue at hand. A partner can bring a new perspective to the table that may uncover the key the organisation is looking for to help improve their overall operations.
This includes everything from printing statements, to ensuring accurate and timely delivery and implementing useful analytics tools to help encourage customers to act - whether it's aimed at reducing their calls to the call centre or participating in the next "reduction of carbon emissions" campaign.
The new bill will help to educate and encourage customers to reduce energy consumption especially during peak-use periods. Additionally, it establishes an infrastructure to accurately relay future smart meter data as well as current conservation suggestions to a targeted, relevant customer.
Speaking more broadly, today's marketers are at a difficult crossroads due to higher return on investment (ROI) expectations, demand for stronger campaign results and changing marketing channels. Many are learning, specifically those in the utility market, that the most effective and efficient way to maximise ROI is by aligning more closely with the IT department. This may appear to be an easier task than one might think. By having an external partner, this process becomes much more seamless and easier to initiate.
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