Sailesh Das,
Principal Consultant - Energy and Utilities Practice, Tech Mahindra

The massive impact of decarbonization, deregulation and decentralization has renewed the landscape for the E&U sector. It has led to multifold challenges from various stakeholders, including customers, regulators, and new market entrants. As a passive consumer base evolves into active ‘prosumers,’, they drive a new digital economy. As digital economies grow, human experience becomes a key value driver. Utilities can’t afford to be complacent here and they must pivot to a customer-centric model as future growth hinges on the ability to offer high-value services at a low cost, making it crucial to leverage advancements in AI. Implementing conversational intelligence, seamless mobile experiences, and natural language processing (NLP) will be key to enhancing both human-machine interactions and immersive customer experience. 

Obstacle to Advantage

As utilities begin to recognize the transformative power of conversational AI, they find themselves in a race to catch up with digitally native competitors from other industries. Utility customer needs are both sporadic and urgent, spanning from service upgrades and clean energy options to real-time outage reporting - the ability to address these needs proactively and personally is crucial for brand loyalty. With deregulation offering more choices to consumers, and even regulators in monopolistic markets emphasizing CX, utilities must make customer experience central to their operations as metrics now go beyond just price, billing, payment, and reliability. 

Unlike other sectors, utilities are primarily asset-based and operate in a physical realm that is often disconnected from digital networks. Traditional systems like customer information systems (CIS) and billing platforms are complex and not easily integrated into emerging technologies. Replacing them can be both risky and costly, making the quick adoption of conversational intelligence solutions a significant challenge:

Legacy system integration: Require significant IT investments as it is difficult to integrate with conversational intelligence solutions.

Agent training: Effective utilization of conversational intelligence needs specialized training, which can be both time-consuming and costly.

Privacy and security: Utilities must adhere to stringent regulatory standards and protect customer data.

Limited customization: Limit the solution’s adaptability to specific business needs and preferences.

Cost and ROI: The financial burden of deploying and maintaining conversational AI can be high, especially for smaller utilities, making it harder to justify the cost.

Inadequate Technical support: Longer resolution times and customer dissatisfaction.

Cultural shift: Resistance to technology replacing human roles.

The NXT Solution for Conversational AI

Thanks to digital transformation, the gap between reality and possibility in customer experience within the E&U sector is narrowing. However, adoption of new technology comes with its own set of challenges. Our service offering lets utilities tackle these challenges head-on, equipping them with the needed expertise for a smooth transition to conversational intelligence.

Tech Mahindra’s intelligent conversational AI as a platform enables utilities to engage customers across popular messaging channels like SMS, Facebook Messenger, Apple Business Chat, WeChat, Line, WhatsApp, and more, creating a truly digital conversational experience.

It has far-reaching applications for a diverse customer base — including businesses, residential clients, developers, and wholesalers across the electricity, gas, water, and affinity sectors, transforming both customer and employee journeys ensuring an “always connected and engaged” experience while boosting efficiency and growth. It empowers digital agents to perform a wide range of tasks, from simple information requests to handling more complex customer journeys, like onboarding, home moves, and financial care.

Our live chat-as-a-service model can solidify the market position, making business processes more intelligent and customer-centric. Utilities can realize the following benefits:

  • 15-20% improvement in customer self-service capabilities.
  • Elevate your NPS by 5 to 15 points.
  • Cut down call handling time by 10-15%
  • Achieve a digital deflection or containment rate of 60% or higher.
  • Experience a 5-20% increase in revenue.
  • Lower the cost per customer contact.
  • Improve first-call resolution rates by 8-10%.

The Time to Act is Now as we Navigate the Future with Conversational Intelligence.

The path to full-scale digitization is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. It requires early planning, informed choices, and a willingness to confront and overcome long-standing cultural and procedural barriers that have traditionally hindered transformation efforts. The products and services must not only drive immediate improvements but also offer a sustainable ROI. Our conversational AI as a platform solution is designed to help organizations build robust conversational capabilities, foster collaboration, and deliver mutually beneficial outcomes for businesses and consumers. 

About the Author:

Sailesh Das
Principal Consultant - Energy and Utilities Practice, Tech Mahindra

Sailesh has over 20 years of experience within the ITES business in varied capacities and has rich domain expertise in the energy and utilities vertical, globally. He spearheads end-to-end digital and industry-leading transformation solutions within the E&U vertical and horizontal business lines for TechM. He is a certified LEAN and Six Sigma practitioner and holds a PGDMM grade.