The Infosys Utilities Blog seeks to discuss and answer the industry’s burning Smart Grid questions through the commentary of the industry’s leading Smart Grid and Sustainability experts. This blogging community offers a rich source of fresh new ideas on the planning, design and implementation of solutions for the utility industry of tomorrow.

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The end of CS Week and the beginning of Customer Empowerment

400_1.jpgAfter listening to Keynote Speaker, Chip Bell yesterday evening and sitting in the Customer Service Journey workshop this morning, I am excited to begin the journey toward customer empowerment!

It is very interesting to see the convergence of loyalty programs as they make the delayed transition from deregulated utilities to the regulated space. This transition has been non-existent or extremely slow in the past. Now I see a coupled merger between the activities of the regulated and deregulated ecosystems. The model for customer engagement that has become standard in the deregulated retail space is becoming common place within regulated utilities. Notifications, chat, social media collaboration are burgeoning areas with deregulated utilities, but there is a lot excitement to utilitize these channels to drive customer satisfaction in the regualted sector.

Client loyalty may be a foreign term for many utilities, but it is a huge portion of the typical consumer's consumption pattern. Today's consumers interact are increasingly driving the interaction with everyday purchases. These expected interactions must translate across their entire budget and all retailers whether they are CPG or regulated utility must strive to reach these individuals. Loyalty will be driven by influencers, detractors and advocates within these communities. How quickly utilities can address these consumer needs will not only drive loyalty but also savings with consumers.

Imagine a customer seeing a downed line in their neighborhood, snapping a photo of that downed line and uploading it to Twitter. The utility, with the proper listening and monitoring tools, could pull the geotag from the photo roll trucks and address this issue with a quicker response time, limiting potential exposure to outages and also customer safety. In addition, with a positive response through customer channels, the utility has the opportunity to drive customer loyalty.

I hope everyone had a successful week at CS Week 2012 and had an opportunity to learn as much as I did about ongoing trends. All the best until next year!

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