Updated on 21/12/2022

The utility sector: customer service

The importance of big data is constantly being talked about – even if very often out of place – about. Learn how to leverage them to increase customer engagement, trust, and loyalty in a complex industry.

The industrial sector of utilities and energy has lived and is still experiencing a powerful and unprecedented turning point. Market opening and liberalisation. Digital transformation, eco-sustainability and attention to the environment (like new keyword).

They are three of the driving factors of what can be defined, in effect, a Copernican revolution: no longer the big companies in the center, and the customer who is chasing them (with bills difficult to understand; rigid and standardized offers; unreliable and inefficient customer services). But, on the contrary, the user today plays the real central role, with the companies in the sector committed to win their attention, to keep it involved and, finally, to increase their loyalty.

These are very complex challenges. Especially in a fluid market like the current one, which has seen the number of players multiply and has become hyper-competitive. Challenges that involve, first of all, marketing and customer care professionals: two areas that are more than ever related and intimately intertwined, especially when it comes to services such as light, gas, water, internet and telephony that strongly impact people’s daily lives and are pure commodities. Certainly not products with sparkling appeal!

They are very complex challenges, in fact, but full of opportunities that can be grasped only by being constantly updated, in step with the times, with new scenarios in continuous change and making the most of the most advanced means that technology puts, already available today. This cannot be ignored by professional digital marketers.


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“Big data technologies”: Not just a buzzword

No longer just a buzzword, we’ve seen big data technologies go from hype to reality. era. As defined by Gartner, big data technologies are “high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation. “

This represents an area of great potential value for marketing, which can use big data technologies to learn as much as possible about targets and customers, such as which products they’re buying, how they’re using them, how they are navigating your website, and what they are interested in. Through analysis, companies can draw conclusions about what customers want, how they buy, and what they will respond to, and it makes it easier to personalize and optimize marketing messages and promotional offers down to every single customer or target.

In the energy and utility sector, this is a real opportunity to combine the right offer and the right time, to address requirements and issues at the individual level, and to better understand future requirements of each customer, gaining trust and loyalty along the way.

Why big data technologies are essential for the Utility Industry

Let’s start from an eloquent data: the Italian big data market grew by 7.7% in 2020 reaching a value of 2.4 billion euros. And it is estimated that in 2022 the attractiveness of business investments will reach a volume of expenditure that is close to 3 billion (source: corrierecomunicazioni.it).

But where will these huge investments be conveyed? And above all, why are they considered so important?

Analysis from big data technologies will allow companies to help customers be more efficient with their energy consumption. For example, the more that is known about a user’s home, equipment, and usage habits will enable the company to provide efficiency recommendations, automated temperature control services, and other services to help customers be more efficient (and save money in the process).

On the other, data is fundamental for increasing customer satisfaction and gain customer loyalty and trust.

In a period when changing operator is simple and fast and the Churn rate is always higher, the question that arises is how can you build an effective strategy of engagement and customer rentention? And how can we aim, finally, at the goal of trust and loyalty of customers, turning them into active agents of promotion – even unaware – of their brand? It will seem redundant and obvious (unfortunately in some cases it is not): first you need to have it, this strategy.

Improve customer care to increase customer loyalty

Today’s customers have greater expectations for online: they are used to the logic of one-click engagement of Amazon or Netflix and expect to find that same ease of engagement in other sectors.

According to Forrester data, in the US, 77% of adults place top value on their time: “the most important thing a company can do to provide them with good online customer service.”

This is true no matter the product or service that you are providing.  Companies in the Utility sector must start thinking out of the box to establish a happy and lasting relationship with users. Talk with them. Solve their problems quickly. Help them save money. And Digitization can facilitate this process.

Omni-channel communication and customer care strategy should be personalized and tailor-made as much as possible. To do that, it is important to: know your client, analyze the data and put the customer at the center.

Know your customer

The goal is to understand how people interact with your company according to factors such as age, gender, residence, or timing (such as time or day or even the time or year). This is just a suggestion; you’ll want to choose the data that is most relevant to your services, target market, and business objectives.

Call centers and service centers are no longer enough. Companies must be able to respond to the needs of customers on the channels that customers frequent ( email social networks, chats, and apps).

Analyze data

Not all data is the same and it’s not about quantity, but quality. Take advantage of big data technologies to provide the analysis that can inform decision making and to help you better understand how to reach and serve customers.

Put the customer at the center

By analyzing the data Utility companies can get to know their users better, making it easier to put the customer at the center of their efforts and for every interaction. As the customer journey and other customer-facing processes become more digital, big data technologies can support adding personalization at every step, from promotion to new customer onboarding, to the monthly billing cycle


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