In this day and age, it can be difficult to stay ahead of the curve, especially in the utilities industry. New technologies are bringing new competition for customer engagement, and staying ahead of those technological advances has become imperative to remain a front-runner in the industry. Exploring new trends and services that provide the solutions consumers want can add value and satisfaction to your customer relationships and, if done strategically, can foster a positive culture of change among internal teams.
Lead Through Innovation
You can remain involved in your customers’ energy decisions by leading the innovation charge yourself. Utility companies across the country are turning to new technology to improve their existing services and processes, providing increased value for their customers, striding ahead of their competitors, and making their existing infrastructures work for growing customer bases. Some ways that utility companies are innovating include:
- Using smart grid meters to provide ready usage information and updates to customers, predict demand, track outages, and conduct preventative maintenance
- Implementing artificial intelligence (AI) in customer support processes, which helps customers find the answers they need while increasing the capacity of customer service staff
- Utilizing 3D printing technology to streamline services and repairs
- Speeding up the repair process by using drones to assess damaged power lines quickly
- Using automatic vehicle location (AVL) and mapping technology to provide accurate technician ETAs for waiting customers and productivity insight for management
Don’t get caught up in the assumption that the ways you’ve been doing things are working well enough, or that changes to your processes are unfeasible. Take the time to examine new trends and technologies in the industry, see what would add value for your customers or improve your processes, and then build them into your new solutions.
Manage This Change with Care
Large-scale changes will not only change the experience for your customers, but for your internal teams as well. In most cases of digital transformation, you’re asking your employees to implement major changes into their regular processes, be more proactive than they might have been previously, and shift the culture of your company.
Changes like this can be disruptive and difficult for an organization, regardless of its size or the demographics of its employees. There can be an enormous amount of fear and uncertainty. Let’s face it, the utility industry has been a stable, unchanging environment for much of its history.
It is crucial that you begin any major changes with full alignment at the executive level, and then put in the work to help the rest of your organization understand why the change is happening, why it is necessary, and the benefits – for the company, for the customer, and (possibly most essential for adoption) for the individual employee.
Earning buy-in from your employees will help make your transformation both smoother in the short term and more effective in the long run, allowing you to reap the desired benefits as quickly as possible.
If you’re worried about how your organization will handle change, consider partnering with an organizational change management (OCM) consultant to help you create and deploy the change management strategy that is right for your company.
Interested in learning more about what digital essentials can help you remain a front-runner in the utilities industry? Download our free guide, 5 Digital Essentials for Succeeding in the Utilities Industry.