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4 ways digital transformation is impacting the utility industry

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Kristen Gray

Companies with a high quality digital experience are 2x more likely to be chosen as a preferred supplier, and utility companies are taking note. The industry has been slowly shifting already, as companies look to digital options as a key way to gain a competitive advantage. Now, changes are quickly expanding throughout whole organizations, from how they interact with customers to how they manage administration and find new business opportunities. 

The world continues to evolve rapidly, and now utility companies are catching up as they realize that virtual service means better customers and more revenue. Here are four ways that the utility industry is digitally transforming for the future.

1. Customer experience

Customers are demanding digital options more than ever before. They want the convenience of it - to say nothing of the safety and speed. Customers have made it very clear they are willing to solve their own problems if they have experts guiding them remotely or with on-demand video resources. 

This is a huge win for utility companies, since truck rolls are one of the largest expenses and safety risks a company has to manage. The more you can do with video or other remote resources, the fewer truck rolls you need. For many jobs, you can eliminate the trip altogether: one ICwhatUC customer was able to save 6-figures per day in expenses from reduced truck rolls across the company.

2. Employee experience

Forward-thinking utility companies know that many employees are set to retire soon, and younger workers want a more tech-forward experience. But digital transformation for employees isn’t just about using apps at work. It’s using technology to eliminate repetitive mundane tasks like scheduling follow ups with customers, using technology to work from anywhere, and using data to help make more informed decisions. 

Technology is also paving the way for mentorship and collaboration. As older employees don’t want to go on-site or handle complex jobs, they can instruct newcomers with live video or pre-recorded video resources, helping utility companies keep institutional memory and better train new employees.

3. Data Capture

21st century businesses run on data - even in traditional industries like utilities. Not only does data help businesses make revenue-generating decisions, but it can also help keep employees safer and make jobs more efficient for customers. Now, instead of data being distributed across multiple personal devices, it can easily be stored in a single, encrypted video library, which means more opportunity for analysis that leads to better decisions.

4. Process management

People have been working on feedback loops for decades, and field workers are great at recognizing patterns to learn from. What’s new is that data can speed up feedback loops, provide directional signals, and help with continuous improvement at a much faster pace. This means that utility companies gain significant efficiencies over time, making them more profitable while increasing both employee and customer satisfaction.

The future of utilities is digital

Despite much of utility work being location based - for instance, installing a water heater or fixing an HVAC system - the underlying fundamentals of business are switching to digital: what used to be individually documented with pen and paper is being uploaded into the cloud. What used to require 2-3 truck rolls might now be solved entirely using remote video. 

This shift is happening because the technology is capable of it and customers demand it, creating a unique opportunity for businesses that have been waiting for the right moment. For utility companies that want to truly take advantage of this growth, the only thing that’s needed is purpose-built tools to help them get the job done.

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