Taking the Call Center to the Next Level

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Utilities Can Learn from Netflix and Other Successful Companies

Using the data and analytics available today, utilities have the opportunity to transform their traditionally reactive customer call centers into business and information centers, according to EPRI research.

For ideas and inspiration, utilities can look to companies in diverse industries that use customer analytics effectively. Netflix, for example, uses data on what, where, when, and how subscribers watch programming to personalize their viewing experience, and taps its vast database of user behavior to guide development of its original programming.

For utility customer programs, automated analysis of demographic data, consumption history, and past program enrollments can suggest potential preferences, providing call centers with defined opportunities to meet customers’ needs. For example, when speaking with electric vehicle or rooftop solar owners, call center operators may inquire about their interest in energy management programs.

Most customer calls are outage reports, billing inquiries, or requests to start or stop service. Analysis of caller identification, outage management systems, bill histories, and other data can help the call center predict the reason for a call and route it to the proper department, preventing customer frustration. Analytics could even be used to notify customers of problems before they call about them. A system can spot unusually high power consumption and automatically alert the customer well before the end of the billing cycle.