Opower Enhances Contact Center Platform for Utilities

Opower, a provider of cloud-based software for the utility industry, announced the next generation of its customer engagement platform: Opower 6, which expands the company’s customer care capabilities while improving core tools and analytics.

Customer satisfaction and cost to serve are critical to both the top and bottom lines for utilities. Globally, utilities spend $30 billion a year on customer operations, with the largest expenditures in billing and call center operations. Despite this massive investment, research shows that customer interactions have room for improvement. In particular, billing is a pain point for both customers and utilities. Opower’s first customer care offering, Billing Suite, focuses on reducing high bill call volume and call center handle time, while increasing customer satisfaction. In early tests, clients using these products have reduced billing related calls by up to 19 percent.

“We know that customer engagement is different for utilities, and we are partnering with our clients to upgrade the entire customer experience,” said Dan Yates, Opower CEO, in a statement. “We believe there is tremendous untapped value in data generated by utility CIS systems and our customer care solution reflects our focus on unlocking that value. We have years of experience analyzing energy data and a mature platform, and as a result we are uniquely positioned to help our clients increase customer satisfaction while reducing their cost to serve.”

The billing suite is Opower’s first customer care offering, and features timely notices and analytics that allow utilities to improve satisfaction and lower cost-to-serve when customers receive a high bill.

The billing suite includes:

  • High Bill Alerts: that let customers know when they are trending towards a high bill and how they can adjust their energy use before the end of the billing period. Alerts can be delivered to both non-advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and AMI customers and enable utilities to proactively resolve customer questions.
  • eBill Notifications: Offers an enhanced experience for customers signed up for utility e-billing programs by providing helpful context about the main drivers of their energy use. The notifications also give utilities an opportunity to market relevant programs and services.
  • Billing Advisor: Arms utility call center reps with personalized insights to help them have more productive and satisfying calls with customers, which can help increase customer satisfaction and lower average call times.

In addition to the new Customer Care solution, Opower 6 includes a broad set of upgrades to Opower’s platform that provide best in class tools and analytics to all clients. With the release, Opower’s segmentation and targeting capabilities will become available to all clients, enhanced customer intelligence tools will give clients the ability to more easily track the progress of their Opower programs, and new customer level analytics such as program propensity scoring will help utilities better target customers for participation in non-Opower programs.

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Posted January 13, 2016