Redefining the Business Experience for Utilities with AI

Published: January 9, 2024
6 min read

Artificial Intelligence (AI) ” is the term of the decade. As industries undergo rapid technological expansion, AI is not just making waves but leaving an indelible mark. When we talk about the utility industry, AI is reshaping work methodologies, enhancing customer experiences, and optimizing business operations, particularly in customer and field services. This exploration into the integration of AI in business processes unravels a future marked by intelligent solutions for businesses, customers, and environmental sustainability.

When we talk about business experiences, enhanced experiences can only be derived from constant connectivity, access to information, proactive responses, and transparency. Traditionally, it seemed a bit far-fetched and difficult, leading to siloed functioning and delayed responses across departments. But with this sudden and inevitable rise in technology transformations, AI-driven platforms have emerged as leaders in delivering connected experiences in the utility industry.

But why?

These AI-driven platforms seamlessly enable collaboration between the utility, service agents, field workforce, and its multiple customer segments, leveraging real-time data exchange across multiple digital channels such as web, mobile, and more. With constant communication and data interchange, AI is creating a connected ecosystem to function better, proactively tackle challenges, and deliver a connected customer-agent-workforce experience.

So, what should utilities do?

As business processes evolve with the intervention of artificial intelligence, the need to efficiently address customer issues and meet environmental, social, and corporate governance goals grows in tandem.

Adoption of these AI-driven business experience platforms is a win-win.

Let us dive into how artificial intelligence is orchestrating solutions for utilities to navigate disruptions and stay relevant in the ever-evolving markets:

AI enables seamless customer experience by empowering customer service agents:

  • Agent Experience: Service agents struggle to respond quickly and effectively, especially in high-volume scenarios.
    • Improving Service Agent Productivity: AI-powered platforms enable drafting initial responses to service requests based on the history of interactions, with the flexibility to review and edit before sending.

    • Accelerating Response in High-volume Scenarios: In high-volume scenarios, AI platforms accelerate processes to assist service representatives in addressing multiple requests with the help of predicting responses, pre-built templates, and chatbots.
  • Knowledge Sharing and Collaboration: Finding relevant information quickly is challenging for both CSRs and end-customers.
    • Enabling Quick Access to Answers: AI platforms empower customers and service representatives with quick access to answers via integrated short-form responses.

    • Enhancing Search Results: AI-powered search results provide customer service representatives with the best possible answers to request resolution.
  • Customer 360: Understanding and summarizing customer issues while addressing service requests is time-consuming.
    • Key Information Summaries: AI generates efficient and accurate summaries of customer issues and requests, leveraging customers' existing and historical data.

    • Next Best Action: AI empowers customer service representatives with the next best steps by analyzing situations and determining the level of steps to be implemented.
  • Fast-track Case Management: Managing and resolving customer cases promptly is challenging without streamlined processes.
    • Identifying Overlaps: AI identifies similar past cases, recommends resolutions, and automates aspects of the case management process, ensuring efficient case handling.

AI enables streamlined operations for Utilities:

  • Outage Predictive Analytics: Utilities face the challenge of effectively addressing unpredictable outages, leading to service disruptions and customer dissatisfaction. AI-powered proactive outage management empowers utilities with a quick resolution and enhances transparency, fostering customer trust in the utility.
    • Predictive Insights: Based on historical data, weather forecasts, and grid conditions, AI harnesses the power of data to predict potential outage events, enabling utilities to respond proactively.

    • Personalized Outage Reports: AI ensures that customers affected by an outage receive personalized reports, predicting recovery times and resolution processes to foster transparency and trust.

    • Dynamic Outage Response Plans: AI enables optimal routes and resource allocations for field crews based on real-time data for faster resolution. It also provides recommendations to customers for adapting to the changing conditions during the outage restoration.

    • Post-outage Reports: AI equips utilities with comprehensive post-outage reports, including root cause analysis and recommendations for future improvements.
  • Energy Consumption Forecasting: Manually anticipating and planning for fluctuating energy demand and consumption can be cumbersome and error-prone. Proactive planning, efficient grid balancing, and the ability to identify consumption patterns for energy efficiency improvements ensure a stable and sustainable energy supply.
    • Predicting Energy Demand: AI forecasts energy demand for the next few hours or days, aiding utilities in energy distribution planning.

    • Estimating Energy Consumption Trends: Analysis of consumption patterns allows for long-term planning and optimum grid balancing.

    • Forecast for Solar and Wind Power Generation: AI’s ability to predict renewable energy resources generation enables utilities to plan for energy storage and backup power sources.
  • Enhanced Energy Audits: Manual energy audit processes are time-consuming and can lack comprehensive insights. Automating the energy auditing process enables efficient, more comprehensive recommendations for businesses and households.
    • Automating and Enhancing the Energy Audit Process: AI generates audit reports, recommendations, and potential savings calculations for businesses and households, streamlining the energy auditing process.
  • Environmental Impact Assessment: Utilities need to assess and manage their environmental impact and compliance effectively. With visibility into the environmental impact and compliance, AI empowers utilities to establish woke processes and upgrade the existing ones for sustainable development.
    • Environmental Analysis and Predictive Emissions Modelling: AI estimates emissions resulting from utility operations, quantifying the impact. It also predicts potential emissions based on historical and current scenarios, equipping utilities with data-backed information to minimize emissions.

    • Environmental Risk Assessment: Providing visibility into potential environmental impacts based on sustainability metrics, AI empowers utilities for enhanced decision-making.

    • Compliance Documentation: AI streamlines and generates compliance documentation, ensuring regulatory adherence, safety, and minimal hindrance to the operations.

    • Renewable Energy Assessment: AI enables the assessment of potential usage of renewable energy resources, contributing to sustainable development.
  • Energy Theft Detection: Energy theft or unauthorized use is a common issue that often goes undetected, and costs utilities resources, and leads to revenue losses. Prompt theft detection safeguards utility revenue and resources and optimizes energy transfer.
    • Analyzing Energy Consumption Data: By measuring energy consumption data, customer count, and other parameters set by the utilities, AI detects and generates alerts for potential locations with energy theft or unauthorized energy consumption.

The evolution in the business processes that we are witnessing, thanks to artificial intelligence, signals towards a smart future. AI’s ability to prompt issue resolution, maintain transparency, and predict measures for a better future is leading the utilities towards fortification from potential disruptions in the business. As we explored the multifaceted use cases that AI is revolutionizing, it is evident that it promises an efficient operating future for the utility business. As we embrace the potential of AI, we usher in an era where businesses, customers, and the environment converge in a harmonious symphony of smart solutions and sustainable practices.

SEW's SmartBX Platform provides a comprehensive and fully integrated solution that simplifies utilities business operations. Tailored specifically for the Energy and Utilities vertical, the SmartBX (Business Experience) Platform is the all-in-one answer to the challenges faced by utilities in today's dynamic landscape.

This vertical-focused platform serves a multitude of essential functions, bringing Customer Service, Finance, Service Management, Marketing/Campaigns, Customer Outreach, and Operational Services (including Outage Management, Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, Program Management, and more) together seamlessly within a single, cohesive platform.

At its core, SEW's Platform is all about creating a connected ecosystem. It bridges the gap between customer service, assets, and field workforce management, ensuring a smooth flow of information and collaboration. It is the definitive solution for utilities seeking to streamline their operations, enhance customer service, and stay ahead of the curve.

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