BRIDGE Energy Group has announced the results from its 2013 utility industry survey on customer enablement.
BRIDGE surveyed over 20,000 utility employees about their views and experiences in customer enablement. Results show that while 40% plan to add major new functionality to their existing CIS/CRM system and 37% plan to replace their existing CIS/CRM, 76% indicated that the supply of knowledgeable staff and system integration challenges are the two biggest CIS project inhibitors.
A majority of utilities recognize that customers want more in terms of clear, bi-directional communication on outages, rate increases, and billing issues, however, very few utilities (9%) have a complete, integrated view of each customer in order to analyze the information and deliver on those expectations. Additionally, with 69% planning to increase their focus on improving customer experience, they will face various organizational obstacles including a lack of customer experience strategy, budgets, processes and technology.
"New and upcoming business requirements driven by regulatory and customer demands, coupled with changing technology on the grid and customer premise, are necessitating a major overhaul in utility business processes, systems and customer communication," said Colum Lundt, founder of BRIDGE Energy Group. "Successfully engaging utility customers will require a well thought out strategy and the right technical foundation to support this transformation well into the future."
Utilities were clear throughout survey responses that customers want bi-directional communication across a broad variety of mediums including text, social media and web site. The survey revealed that the current project initiatives - including the continued deployment of smart meters, completing AMI rollouts and grid automation, and expanding the use of demand management and other energy efficiency programs - are leading the charge in upcoming project work that will empower customers to save energy and money.