Core element in the AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) is Smart Meters which is instrumental in providing a range of customer-centric features. With Smart meters, customers now have instant access to electricity consumption patterns over different time intervals, prior information about any blackouts, and more.
Before the advent of smart metering, forgetful customers had to experience significantly long waiting times for the fulfilment of service connection, reconnection, & disconnection requests. Smart utility companies are now leveraging the immense capabilities offered by smart electricity grids for improving the overall customer experience via smart metering.
It is a win-win for all the stakeholders in the ‘utility ecosystem’ – customers, utility companies, and enablers of the ancillary services attached to the utility domain (e.g. payments, data analytics, etc.). Big data analytics in smart meters is helping utility companies take advanced informed decisions – a factor that goes a long way in the improvement of their NPS (Net Promoter Score) score.
Talking about AMI in smart meters, remote service connection and disconnection orders have now come down to a few hours (instead of days). This has also resulted in a massive reduction in the number of truck rolls. In this blog, we look at a customer success story where TekGeminus played a pivotal role in the implementation of ‘automated auto reconnect’ feature for a large US-based utility company. This eventually helped in improving the overall aspects of customer experience, whilst reducing the other overhead costs involved on cost-to-serve fronts.
The Auto Reconnect Conundrum
The advent of AMI has definitely expedited the process of meter connect/disconnect; unless the meter is not disconnected from the pole. A manual approach for managing reconnects leads to an additional increase in incoming service calls (to the CSAs), along with a spike in truck rolls.
Though TekGemius’ customer (henceforth referred as Utility company) was leveraging the benefits of Smart Meters; auto reconnect requests were still handled using the traditional approach. This involves customers calling the customer care service and negotiating the quote amounts with the Customer Service Agents (CSA).
After receiving the payment confirmation, the CSA would manually perform a state transition to the ‘Active State’. Even after a successful payment, the reconnect (or restoration) of electricity was done on the next business day.
How TekGeminus Catalyzed A Frictionless Auto Reconnect Experience
Reconnect (or auto connect) not only enhances the customer experience but also helps in reducing the load on the back-end teams (i.e. Customer Service Agents). The issue with the manual reconnect is that customers have to connect to the CSA’s, thereby making the entire process cumbersome.
TekGeminus team first created multiple touch-points on self-service portal, mobile application, etc. where customers could login for generating a real-time quote. This is a classic example of empowering customers through minimal (yet super-effective) changes in the user flow!
Customers are required to get in touch with CSA’s only when negotiations are involved on the payment front. Once the customer completes the minimum payment process, a near real-time reconnect work order is dispatched to the meter services team.
With the introduction of automated reconnects, reconnection service orders could be completed remotely in a short span of time.
How Auto Reconnect Benefits the Utility Ecosystem
As mentioned above, the automated reconnect feature empowers customers and minimizes the additional load on the back-end team. The utility company provided its customers a tool that uplifted the entire Customer Experience (CX). The overall boost in CX also resulted in a drastic reduction in truck roll costs.
Here are the significant benefits of the auto reconnect solution devised by the TekGeminus team:
For Utility Company
- Huge cost savings owing to reduced truck rolls and optimized utilization of call center staff
- Improved operational efficiency leading to a growth in overall revenue numbers
- Operations and maintenance (O&M) cost savings due to instant payment collection process
For Utility Consumers
- Customers now have the flexibility to initiate reconnection requests using their preferred device and medium (e.g. website, app, etc.)
- Reconnects could be initiated with/without the involvement of Customer Services Agents. Customers would now involve CSAs only when billing negotiations had to be done
- On successful payment, reconnection work orders could be processed on the same business day
To conclude, auto reconnection in smart meters could help TekGeminus’ Utility Customer fulfill reconnection service orders remotely in a short span of time (i.e. it could be within minutes). After-hours reconnection requests could also be completed on the same (or next) business working day.
Are you an Utility Company looking to leverage the potential of Smart Metering Infrastructure? If yes, TekGeminus can partner with you implementing a smart metering interface. TekGeminus utility domain and technology experts will help you integrate metering interface with your billing software improving and enhancing your meter to cash process.
Have a look at our technology expertise in the Utility Domain at https://www.tekgeminus.com/technology-stack/.