For years, utilities have been facing the challenge of meeting customer expectations set beyond their own industry. Incumbent utilities and energy retailers have also faced the emergence of new entrants into their markets that differentiate themselves with unparalleled customer service and experience. This is pushing utilities and energy retailers to shift from being internal process/technology centric to being truly customer centric, focusing on the customer journey and all touchpoints along the way.
Aside from the need to lower the cost to serve, companies are now focused on improving customer satisfaction and net promoter scores (NPS) in competitive markets, lowering customer effort scores (CES), enhancing customer lifetime value, and lowering customer acquisition costs. Solution providers are responding to these needs by offering a suite of applications that manage and optimize the end-to-end omni-channel customer journey, provide a 360-degree customer view, and are enhanced by CX analytics for both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C).
Jean-François Segalotto, associate research director, IDC Energy Insights observed that CXM solution providers have enhanced their offerings in the space to differentiate and become more competitive. He attributed this to the industry’s self-propelled desires to become customer centric.
He noted that solution providers have embedded industry-specific functionalities for marketing, sales, commerce, service, customer data, profiling and analytics, and customer engagement out of the box.
"Solution performance is also increasingly improved, with more mature AI functionality unleashing intelligent, personalized, and digital-first customer service. Solution providers' ability to deliver omni-channel experiences is also maturing with the aim of delivering unified contact centres," he concluded.
Trends in CXM solutions
The large, horizontal CXM offerings are giving way to "industry cloud" models, where those horizontal functionalities are complemented with integrated, industry-specific capabilities.
With a true 360-degree view of customers still a moving target for many, the largest vendors in this space have introduced the concept of customer data platforms.
In addition to supporting the back office, vendors are perfecting the use of AI in the front end.
CXM applications are mostly offered as software as a service, with most vendors offering a selection of pricing options. Outcome-based pricing is less common but increasingly sought after by utilities.
Functionalities are increasingly offered across various communication channels, but a unified contact centre is often missing.
To provide a more seamless customer experience, customer relationship management (CRM) consolidation across customer service, field service, and customer self-service is starting and is expected to pick up pace.