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by Daniela Köhler
Energy suppliers are facing massive challenges. On the one hand, the energy transformation is in full swing; on the other hand, heat pumps, flat-rate relief payments and similar measures are creating an increased need for advice among consumers. At the same time, it is critical to keep sight of the customer experience (CX).
Agents in the contact centres of energy suppliers already had their hands full with processing calls and emails promptly to meet the citizens’ need for information and answering questions about registration and billing. For example, the service centre of Hamburger Energiewerke GmbH alone processes some 120,000 emails every year, with the Dortmunder Energie- und Wasserwerke receiving around three times as much electronic mail in a year ̶ and that doesn’t include phone calls and chat messages.
The complexity of customer queries in the energy sector is increasing
It is not only the sheer volume of customer queries but also their general nature which has changed. For a long time now, customers have been communicating more than just metre readings or changes of address. Many of their concerns are much more complex: When will I receive my energy cost subsidy? Why are carbon dioxide costs listed on my electricity bill? How can I submit my metre reading? Where do I have to register the new wallbox for my e-car?
Answers to such questions are not always easy to find – yet more and more customers are demanding exactly that. Energy supply companies that cannot do this quickly fall behind. As a recent Deloitte study (German only) confirms, 60 percent of customers have already switched providers at least once due to poor service experiences. It’s high time for energy suppliers to automate their processes to improve the customer experience for customers, especially as the current price developments in the energy sector are fuelling the willingness to switch. In June, according to comparison site Verivox, new customer prices for electricity fell to 28.5 cents per kilowatt hour, the lowest level since September 2021. Those who do not impress their existing customers with first-class service will possibly see one or two of them from behind in the near future.
E-Book: How energy suppliers fuel their customers' customer experience
In order to achieve the balancing act between increasing price pressures, exponential contact volumes and demanding customers, energy service providers need to upgrade their service standards as quickly as possible. This means that agents must be able to retrieve required information in real time and process open cases across all channels. Incoming calls must also be prioritised and routed intelligently, and standard questions must be processed automatically. Omnichannel contact centre software provides the basis for this. For example, novomind iAGENT not only pools all contact channels and data on a single interface, but also provides smart tools for efficient customer service.
This benefits employees and customers alike: agents have a reliable overview of all customer interactions, which enables them to answer questions better and faster. The system uses predefined templates to process standard requests fully automatically and interactive chatbots to evaluate incoming messages, so agents have more time to devote to more complex requests. It all adds to a positive service experience.
At the same time, since contact history can be effortlessly tracked via the intuitive interface, customers benefit from shorter waiting times and do not need to describe their issues every single time. Ideally, this will enable the agent to resolve customer problems directly. If this is not possible – for example, because there are communication problems or the caller has a very specific question – the employee simply forwards the incident to the appropriately qualified colleague at the touch of a button. This makes customer service enjoyable.
More and more energy suppliers have understood this and are implementing appropriate solutions in their contact centres. For example, the Dortmunder Energiewerke (DEW21) has taken personal customer service on site to a new level with the help of novomind iAGENT: “Every day, we advise around 200 customers. Thanks to novomind iAGENT, we can now forward them to the consultants with the right skills. This has reduced waiting times enormously – and who likes waiting?” says DEW21 complaints manager Robert Tigges.
Would you like to know how reputable energy suppliers like Hamburger Energiewerke, Stadtwerke Potsdam and Dortmunder Energie- und Wasserversorgung GmbH (DEW21) have used novomind iAGENT to sustainably improve the service experience of their customers while enhancing the efficiency of their contact centres? If so, read our e-book, which offers a wide range of exciting insights.
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