Top 4 Challenges for Utilities Contact Centers

Does this scenario sound familiar? Your customer is moving and needs to perform the simple task of transferring one of your utility services from their current residence to their new home. Seems simple, right?

So, they call your utilities contact center, and a bot asks them loads of questions with the intent to change their service’s location without ever speaking to a human being. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

If it doesn’t, your customer starts a merry-go-round of navigating menu options, being put on hold, and finally reaching an actual human being only to be told they can’t verify their information. And now the call gets escalated to a manager.

A simple task that should have taken a few minutes has now taken almost an hour or more. Your customer is frustrated, and perhaps they even hung up and decided it is a task for another day, praying the outcome will be different.

This is just one example of the challenges Vistio’s AgentHub helps utility contact centers solve with it’s step-by-step agent guidance. Below are four more challenges and how AgentHub helps you combat them.

Challenge #1: Getting customers set up quickly and efficiently
After a customer navigates from the IVR system to an actual agent, the process of starting a new service can be tedious for both your agent and the customer. Without a straightforward process in place, agents are more likely to make errors, forget to input crucial information, and spend more time on the phone with the customer than necessary.

AgentHub Solution:
Your agents are likely the only human touchpoint your customers will have with your company. Therefore, it is crucial to start this relationship off on a high note with efficient, effective, and consistent service.

AgentHub simplifies and speeds up the process for agents when they’re setting up services for new customers by providing them step-by-step guidance on what questions they need to be asking to set up service and what to do in the circumstance that the customer doesn’t know all the answers.

Challenge #2: Effectively navigating difficult situations
There is increasing complexity in the utility industry. Contact center agents are expected to do more than help customers change service location. They are expected to act like service consultants as well.

Having often received only limited training, the expectation agents will quickly know every answer to every customer inquiry is unreasonable. Agents must then put their client on hold, search a knowledge base, or, even worse, ask a manager for assistance. This can cause customer frustration that distracts agents from answering questions efficiently or resolving the issue effectively and calmly.

AgentHub Solution:
When customers have emotional reactions to their bills or complicated inquiries, AgentHub helps agents focus on the customer experience rather than hunting for information. AgentHub seamlessly cues agents with answers to complex questions, allowing them to concentrate on portraying empathy and composure with frustrated customers.

Challenge #3: Sending accounts to collection
The contact center department of a utility company is often in a silo and disconnected from accounting. Usually, a contact center agent cannot set up payment plans for customers who are behind on their payments, causing these accounts to go to collections.

In the rare case that they can establish payment plans, allowing the agent to set up the plan can lead to mathematical errors, additional call handling time, and inconsistent payment plans.

AgentHub Solution:
AgentHub helps your agents more consistently work out payment arrangements with customers who are behind on their bills, rather than transferring the call to a supervisor, the accounting department, or to collections.

Our solution guides agents to input the outstanding balance and automatically generates payment plan options depending on what customers can pay. This leads to less escalation and allows agents to set up realistic payment plans that ease customer anxiety.

Challenge #4: Deploying service vehicles only when absolutely necessary
When agents are not properly trained, they often have default solutions that they go to repeatedly, costing utilities providers time and money. Sending trucks to customers’ homes is one of those expensive and time-consuming solutions that can often be avoided.

AgentHub Solution:
AgentHub ensures your agents do thorough investigations before sending out a truck. Vistio’s process-driven software ensures your agents ask all the crucial questions needed to send out a service vehicle instead of jumping the gun and dispatching an onsite visit when the issue could have been resolved by the agent themselves.

Utilities are often a source of anxiety for the general public as things like gas, electricity, water, and the internet are crucial elements our society depends on. When there are major outages due to weather, equipment malfunction, or an influx of service needs, contact centers can see intense spikes in call volumes and frustrated clients who need solutions quickly.

AgentHub helps ensure your agents are informed, stay calm, and provide effective, efficient, and consistent service at all times, regardless of the situation.

See how AgentHub works today!

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