The move to smart meters or Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) is inevitable. According to Pike Research, smart meters will be installed at a rate of 5% a year for the foreseeable future. What does this all mean for the contact center of a utility company? Change.
Top 5 things a utility’s contact center should be mindful of before, during and after an AMI roll-out.
- Back to the Basics: When embarking on change which has organizational wide implications, it is critical you get back to the basics of contact center management. If you do not have robust solutions for these measurements, the road is going to get bumpy.
- First Call Resolution (FCR) – Watch and manage closely. ANI matching is not an acceptable form of measurement.
- Average Handle Time (AHT) – Likely to increase while your agents and customers are learning the new processes.
- Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) – If the Customer’s Journey is more challenging than before, you can assume CSAT will dip. Be prepared with mitigation strategies in place.
- Eliminating Old Processes: When a new technology comes along which impacts a business the easy side of the equation is to create a new process. However, do not forget about process destruction. Not trimming old processes back will lead to confusion and inefficiencies. Do not be afraid to question the validity of a process. Bill estimation and some diagnostic premises visits come to mind.
- Channel Consistency: Millennials are digital natives and per The Council of Economic Advisors, three-quarters of Millennials have an account on a social networking site, compared with only half of Generation X and less than a third of the Baby Boomers. They interact with technology and love the environment. AMI deployment will raise the visibility and increase the value of all e-channels and will make you aware of how far behind your customers you are. For more information on what Millennials expect from their utility see this blog entry.
- Opposition Management: Ensure part of your agent training involves specific tactics to handle customers that do not want to have their meter changed. Align the tactics utilized in the contact center with the larger communication strategy at the company level.
- Risk Management: While the deployment team is working in the field, any issues that arise will negatively impact the contact center. An increase to AHT and decrease to FCR may be symptomatic of larger problem outside of the contact center’s control. However, establishing issue escalation, risk prioritization, and deployment readouts will go a long way to setting up conduits of communication within your organization before inefficient processes are cemented in place.
When is the last time your utility underwent a systemic change like an AMI deployment? Are you having issues in the contact center as a result of unforeseen deployment hiccups? Are your employees communicating the value of AMI within your communities? Our customers have invested in technology planning and management strategies, contact center change management programs, and valuable diagnostics that generate actionable customer perspectives. Your contact center is at the center of a customer’s experience and your business processes. Investments in this space will pay dividends!