The utilities industry is surrounded by digital transformation on all sides, from smart grids, IoT technology, electric vehicles, and more. We could go into further detail but the truth is: there’s simply no future in which customer service becomes simpler, demand goes down and technology decreases. Whether it be meter readings, help at a charging station on the highway, or just contract changes, AI Agents are the only path forward to scaling customer service amid a changing and digitizing industry. Here’s why.  

Why AI Now? 

The utilities market continues the shift towards renewable energy, more efficient resource management, integrated technologies, and IoT for smart meters and grids and the electrification of transportation. What a mouthful!  All of these impact and complicate customer service operations. Utilities must now manage a more dynamic grid, handle vast amounts of data from connected devices, and address new customer issues related to EVs. This demands robust, scalable customer service solutions that can easy integrate with a range of information systems, provide real-time support, and continue to adapt to evolving customer needs. There is no single solution. But AI is part of any solution. 

The Business Value of AI Agents in Service 

AI Agents, based on a combination of Conversational and Generative AI, bring a unique blend of personalization and automation to both the customer and agent side of service. On a high level, here are some of the  benefits AI delivers: 

  • Close the labor gap in contact centers 
  • Improve efficiency metrics 
  • Reduce labor costs from overhiring due to inefficient operations 
  • Increase customer satisfaction metrics 
  • Handle the same or rising inquiries with the same staff level 

 Use Cases For Customers 

Screenshot 2024-05-17 at 11.39.27

AI Agents for Your Business ebook_draft_Page_12-2

Customer Service for Smart Grids, IoT, and EVs 

The tide of complexity is rising in the contact center, yet agents are still stuck with manual processes, like a pair of cement shoes, preventing them from rising with the tide. Enter AI Agents, who can swoop in like Superman, quickly gather up these manual processes, and whisk them, saving everyone. But just like your physical infrastructure, you can’t go changing everything at once. The best way to get started is to identify high-volume, low-complexity issues (including parts of issues) that can be automated. I say partial because ID&V for example, is just part of the customer journey in the contact center, yet this individual step can be fully automated. So it’s not about starting with end-to-end but finding the low-hanging fruit that will deliver 

This is why the key to sustainably unlocking both the power of AI, but also, ROI is adopting an iterative approach. By attacking smaller, very narrow business cases you can simultaneously get your first AI project off the ground and achieve business-changing results in a remarkably short amount of time all while validating your decision. And one final tip before we get into use cases, it’s better to automate an existing channel than try to launch an additional one in a new project. 

For you, this may indeed be generic like ID&V. One Fortune 500 Insurer we work with started by employing an AI Agent to do ID&V and routing only. This single AI Agent achieved a 95% automation rate handling 20+ million calls per year and has taken a full 1.5 minutes off their previous AHT (a 27% decrease). But you may also choose to go with meter readings using a simple AI Agent who can help customers take a photo, receive the image, and read it via optical character recognition (OCR), and then update their account accordingly. Whether it be that, billing issues, outage reports, or other common processes, AI Agents can dramatically reduce the workload on your agents, speed up resolutions for customers, and save you money in the process. 

Conclusion 

Utilities are no less impacted by digitalization and rising customer expectations than any other industry and at the same time, are able to adapt and benefit from these changes. Amidst the complexity of smart grids, IoT, and EV tech, AI Agents are one of the must-have solutions to adapt to the present, scale for the future, and sustainably improve customer experiences in the long term. AI isn’t merely a technological upgrade, but a strategic asset to navigate the future. 

image119-1
image119-1
image119-1