Digitization has long been at the heart of the strategies of major utility companies and it has significantly contributed to reshaping and reinventing their organizations. Behind the change, there is also a growing urgency: in order to adapt to the new ecosystem, every organization is called upon to manage this major shift in an environmentally sustainable and economically efficient manner.
This will require implementing systems that can make the business flexible and resilient and also able to maintain a vital and profitable relationship with the real protagonist of the new economic paradigm: the user-consumer.
As part of the digitization of the utility sector, Doxee does just that: it helps companies innovate their communication processes and supports them in taking greater advantage of digital transformation.
It provides them with the tools they need to generate value and helps them successfully address new business challenges. Its interactive services, which have been developed in collaboration with the main players in the sector across numerous projects, can be tailored to the specific needs of the user, both in the area of customer service and in that of personalized video marketing.
Interactivity and personalization, together, are the keys to effective and successful communication between company and user.
The new digital world of utilities: a rich and dynamic context
According to a report by Altran, if the digital revolution has been influencing markets (and our daily lives) for many years, the future prospects are still exceptional. They found that:
- The average investment in digitization by utility and multi-utility companies grew to nearly $330 billion between 2012 and 2017;
- An astronomical $1.3 trillion in value could be generated globally in the power sector through digital transformation by 2025;
- The digital utilities market is expected to reach a record $299 billion by 2025.
This data indicates how B2C players have rapidly embraced new technologies that have seen mass deployment among their users and have now reached a high level of maturity.
Moreover, the digitization of the utility sector is influencing business models and structures: UX designers, data scientists, and agile teams are commonly integrated into corporate IT teams, called upon to reinvent or create new services; the marketing and communications department, on the other hand, has assumed a primary role in designing engaging customer experiences, which are indispensable for keeping the customer churn rate under control.
Digitizing the utility industry in operations
In utility operations and associated B2B services, the potential of digital tools has also found wide application in operations. In fact, digital is a key factor for operational excellence. In a world that is constantly changing and where utilities are embarking on the processes of decarbonization and decentralization of their sources, it helps to master the life cycles of plants, from design to decommissioning.
Every operator, thanks to digital solutions can:
- Work more safely: When it comes to the constant monitoring of unsafe situations and immediate crisis management, digital is a game changer. It brings in new, easy-to-use tools to ensure full situational awareness through geotracking, real-time alerts with photos or video reporting, remote monitoring, and immediate assistance in case of emergency. It is also a primary source of information and makes it possible to establish privileged channels of communication to prevent misunderstandings and incidents;
- Work better: to reach a new level of performance through the implementation of solutions that extract value from data, the technical data collected “anytime-anywhere” in the plant and in the infrastructures, and the data related to the end user’s consumption. In this way, knowledge management takes place without losses and more advanced data analysis is possible, thanks to which relevant insights can be identified in a timely manner;
- Working together: to provide communities of users, operators, specialists, and managers with collaborative platforms in which to share experiences and illustrate new approaches based on the connection between people. Digital aims to break down silos, improve the management of both knowledge and generally all the resources involved, with a view toward the continuous optimization of assets;
- Work in a more ecological way: the introduction of new solutions and corporate projects makes it possible to successfully achieve the transition to renewable energy and to intercept the themes of public discussion that are most dear to millennials, those related to environmental protection. Digital asserts itself as a valuable ally for reducing CO2 emissions and for reducing fuel consumption.
Thanks to the digitization of the utility industry, processes are increasingly customer-centric
Utilities must become increasingly customer-centric in order to navigate a marketplace that is emerging dramatically transformed from the era of digital disruption. The traditional model simply isn’t enough anymore. Today’s customers are not content to be supplied on the terms of their contract, nor are they content to sit back and wait for sporadic communication, without the possibility of a true two-way exchange with their suppliers.
Moreover, precisely because they deal with limited resources of public interest – water, gas, electricity, and waste management – utilities should pay close attention to the social discourse surrounding environmental protection, particularly if it deals with issues related to urban contexts and younger consumers.
In general, therefore, as we mentioned when we talked about new communication technologies in utility marketing, today’s customers need integrated, innovative, and simple solutions that make it easier and more immediate to use services and create the conditions for personalized communication that are able to produce and distribute tailored messages to the right people, in the right places, and at the right times.
A profile of the new user-consumer
According to recent research by Deloitte, “Utility 2.0 – Winning over the next generation of utility customers,” although utility company customers differ in their consumption practices and preferences, a growing number want to be prioritized by their providers and want to feel recognized as having distinct needs. Specifically, this new type of user-consumer:
1. Has higher expectations:
- Wants transactions with their suppliers to be quick and easy to carry out, to be accompanied by correct, complete, and transparent information
- If they need it, they want to have the opportunity to have direct contact with an operator
- Even if motivated primarily by price and the desire to save money, customers increasingly have an environmental conscience and tend to reduce their consumption. To increase revenues, utility providers will have to offer new products and services
- Is interested in having access to a comprehensible analysis of his consumption and better information that will help him take control of his user situation and self-regulate it
2. Expresses interest in dynamic, bidirectional communication with suppliers:
- To communicate with the supplier, the customer wants to use different channels, each designed with different functionalities for the various phases of the service life cycle and equipped with a dialog-based structure
To strengthen the supplier-customer relationship, utilities must invest in integrating customer service and communication channels and move toward a contact and relationship approach that is driven by consumer behaviors (actual and expected) and enabled by new technologies, and that is able to align field operations with the changing nature of customer interactions.
How to pull off such an approach? Doxee offers the solution through product lines created to bring value to the potential of digitization in the utility sector.
The Doxee Experience: The utility-customer dialog becomes “human”
Paying bills for electricity, gas, and water directly from a remote computer or mobile device. Keep your user situation under control: consumption, periodic variations, the various expense items. Ask your supplier directly for explanations, eliminating steps that risk wasting precious time and being redundant, cumbersome, or unclear. These are three of the recurring circumstances where the user’s habits have radically changed.
This need for an immediate confrontation (in the sense of less and less mediation) where the utility-customer dialog is more “human,” interactive, and personal, can in no way be underestimated, on pain of losing the most precious resource: consumer trust. To develop a valuable relationship with customers and citizens, the digitization of communication processes must allow for the creation of data-driven, personalized, and contextual interactions. In other words, it must enable a customer experience that is both paperless and interactive.
A paperless experience: a more agile and efficient organization that facilitates customer interactions
Digital taxation, long-term archiving, and the technical requirements needed to align corporate compliance with Italian and European regulations are subject to changes that are often difficult to track, interpret, and absorb. This is a challenge for all utility companies, which are engaged in a constant technological review and adaptation of internal skills. Doxee px (paperless experience) makes it easy to manage regulatory compliance because it offers comprehensive coverage of digital tax and document processes.
Electronic invoicing, digital storage, and electronic ordering are managed directly by Doxee using state-of-the-art technology, qualified specialists, and accredited procedures.
Starting with the collection and storage of company data, Doxee enables the dematerialization of complex processes related to billing and storage, and it transforms every transactional document into a powerful tool for developing conversations.
As a result of Doxee solutions, the company’s organization becomes more agile and efficient, the economic impact of document and fiscal management is reduced and, at the same time, there is an opportunity for greater interaction between the company and its customers, all with positive effects on the customer experience.
An interactive experience: innovative communication for a highly profiled offering
In this post, we described the profile of the user-consumer that is increasingly asserting itself on the market: endowed with a critical sense, committed to the themes of eco-sustainability, attentive to the trend of its own consumption, and able to use digital technologies with ease.
Each of these “new” consumers has their own needs and expectations, which must be investigated, listened to, and satisfied: only in this way is it possible to formulate a proposal that is in line with the customer’s real needs. In other words, it is necessary to get to know the customer, extracting information and insights that are truly relevant from the available data. Starting from this point, Doxee supports utility companies in the development of two-way communication that are capable of mutually enriching information.
Doxee interactive experience offers the ability to design and deliver effective and engaging experiences from an omnichannel perspective. Through Doxee Pvideo® and Doxee Pweb® products, which are tailored to the individual user, customer data is transformed into personalized, interactive videos and dynamic, responsive web microsites. The result is a highly profiled offer, with content, products, and services designed based on increasingly reliable forecasts because they are subject to immediate feedback and open to progressive adjustments.
Digitization in the utility sector is now an obligatory step, not only in the direction of a necessary modernization of infrastructures, but above all towards a genuinely innovative type of communication that is capable of acting reactively and proactively to the often unexpressed needs of the consumer. Not so much a technological trend, therefore, but above all a change in the business perspective, which can and must finally put the customer at the center of communication processes.