Rethinking customer engagement in the digital age
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Rethinking customer engagement in the digital age

Digitizing customer services in utilities
Key Highlights:

  • UK utilities was the second-least satisfied sector after telecom and media with a score of 4.2 points below the average of ‘UK Customer Satisfaction Index’ in 2015
  • For 50% of Generation Y, social media and internet / web chat are the preferred choices of contact
  • Utilities that offered inconsistent digitally-enabled customer service reported an average 113% rise in customer complaints in 2015 compared to 2014
  • Utilities that offered digitally-enabled customer interaction services fairly consistently witnessed an average 18% fall in customer complaints

Conventional interaction channels face disruption owing to digital technologies which are becoming the preferred medium of communication for customers. This change has been brought about by the demands of a new, technology-loving generation, a shift in the regulatory environment and the adoption of smart meters. Companies who embrace these digital channels can realize significant savings. For example, by moving telephonic customer interactions to self-service portals, companies can potentially save costs incurred in customer relationship management. Similarly, by encouraging customers to use self-service portals to send their monthly meter readings and view their current or past bills, energy and utility providers can save on the costs associated with serving customers. Given these inevitable changes and the benefits they can offer, WNS DecisionPointTM conducted a study to determine the digital adoption rate of utility providers. The research found that high levels of digital adoption meant fewer customer complaints, lower costs per customer and a greater number of new customers. Based on these findings, clear steps have been laid out for companies that are not in the top tier of digital maturity to bridge the digital divide and create more business value. The important steps include:

  • Developing and enhancing customer-facing digital capability

  • Building operations-focused back-end strategies such as

    • Adopting a definitive and unified strategy involving both digital engagement and traditional customer service practices
    • Offering incentives to customers for using digital channels
    • Balancing functionality and usability when designing digital channels
    • Gathering unique customer insights to develop personalized services and proactively communicating through relevant digital channels to enhance user experience


In 2015, poor customer service accounted for 11% of the total complaints received by Ofgem and triggered 7% and 6% of customers to switch their gas and electricity suppliers respectively