Utility Industry:
The New CX Boomerang for Repeat Customer Success

Utility Industry: The New CX Boomerang for Repeat Customer Success

The utility industry is experiencing a radical transformation. Fueled by the rise of electric vehicles (EVs) and distributed solar solutions, the way we generate, distribute, and consume energy is fundamentally reshaping. To navigate this dynamic landscape, utility industries need to embrace a powerful approach to Customer Experience (CX). By prioritizing CX, utilities can transform satisfied customers into loyal advocates throughout their customer journey.

This imperative focus on CX is driven by two powerful trends. Firstly, the global smart grid market is poised to reach a staggering $136.9B by 2027, underlining the urgent need for grid modernization to accommodate the increasing adoption of EVs and renewable energy sources. Secondly, the anticipated surge in the number of EVs on the road, surpassing 300M by 2030, will place immense strain on existing grids, highlighting the critical need for smarter management solutions.

However, as the utility landscape undergoes this transformation, customer expectations are also evolving rapidly. Today's consumers demand a seamless and uninterrupted experience across all touchpoints, 24/7. They expect easy access to clear information, personalized communication tailored to their needs, and multiple channels of support - all delivered through their preferred methods. This evolving CX imperative is the key to unlocking repeat customer success in the transformed utility landscape.

Why CX is Getting Crucial for Utilities

For decades, the utility industry operated under a relatively simple model: reliable energy delivery in exchange for a predictable monthly bill. However, the tides are turning. This exciting transformation presents both challenges and opportunities for utility industries. In this evolving utility landscape, marked by transformative shifts and increasing competition, one factor is emerging as a pivotal differentiator: CX. Let's explore the major reasons behind CX's swift ascent as the lifeline of success in the utility industry.

  • Increased competition: With the rise of new energy providers and technologies like community solar, customer loyalty is no longer guaranteed. Utilities need to differentiate themselves by providing a superior customer experience that goes beyond just delivering electricity.
  • Improved operational efficiency: A strong CX strategy can help utilities streamline operations by offering self-service options for common tasks like bill payments and meter readings. This reduces the burden on call centres and frees up staff to focus on more complex customer issues.
  • Enhanced brand reputation: A positive CX can lead to increased brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth marketing. Satisfied customers are more likely to recommend their utility provider to others, which can help attract new customers.

The Current Issues with CX & Utility Industry

As the utility industry sails through a period of profound transformation fueled by innovations such as EVs and distributed solar solutions, the limitations of conventional methods become apparent. In this evolving landscape, attention is gravitating towards CX as a pivotal factor for success. While historically undervalued in the sector, CX now takes center stage as priorities realign. In the following discussion, we'll explore the immediate CX challenges confronting the utility industry, highlighting their heightened relevance in shaping its future course.

  • Integration issues: Legacy systems often make it difficult for utilities to provide a unified customer experience across different channels. Customers may have to repeat information or encounter conflicting data depending on how they contact the company.
  • Outdated technology Many utilities are still using outdated technology that is not well-suited to meet the needs of today's customers. This can lead to slow response times, cumbersome processes, and a frustrating customer experience.
  • Lack of focus on customer data: Utilities often collect a wealth of customer data on energy usage, demographics, and preferences. However, they may not be using this data effectively to personalize the customer experience or identify areas for improvement.

The Advancement in CX Platforms

The utility industry is experiencing a customer-centric revolution. In real-time, customer expectations are constantly evolving. A staggering 80% of customers now expect companies to provide a personalized experience. Gone are the days of impersonal service and a one-size-fits-all approach. Today's tech-savvy consumers demand a seamless and personalized experience across all touchpoints, from bill pay to outage updates. To meet these expectations, utilities are turning to a new generation of technology: CX platforms. These innovative tools bridge the gap between legacy systems and modern customer needs. Imagine receiving targeted energy-saving tips based on your own usage patterns (potentially leading to 10% bill savings according to the Energy Information Administration). That's the personalization CX platforms can enable! Here, we'll explore two leading CX platform providers:


Oracle takes a different approach with its suite of CX solutions, anchored by a Data Platform that acts as a central hub, integrating data from various sources like billing systems, smart meters, and customer interactions. By unifying data, utilities have a complete 360-degree view of each customer. This comprehensive understanding empowers utilities to craft highly targeted marketing campaigns and personalize service interactions. Imagine a customer service representative who can access a customer's complete history instantly, allowing them to resolve issues quickly and efficiently. This fosters trust and loyalty, turning frustrated customers into enthusiastic advocates.


Leading CX solution providers like Salesforce offer cloud-based CX platforms that empower utilities to manage customer interactions effectively. Streamlining and centralizing all interactions (phone calls, mobile apps, etc.) ensures a consistent and seamless experience for customers. Additionally, Salesforce leverages data to personalize communication. This could be targeted reminders about low energy usage during off-peak hours or personalized outage updates specific to your neighbourhood. Ultimately, these features improve customer satisfaction, with satisfied customers being 3 times more likely to recommend a brand. With omnichannel support through a mobile app, customers can seamlessly switch between channels for ultimate convenience.

How to Achieve Repeat Customer Success

The utility landscape is changing! Customers today expect more than just reliable power. They crave control, personalization, and a seamless experience. To stay ahead, utilities can invest in the below 10 key areas that empower customers, improve communication, and ultimately win repeat business. Let's explore these CX goals and see how they can transform your customer relationships.

#CXGoal1 : Empowering Customers Through Data-Driven Insights

Why it's needed: In today's digital age, customers expect personalized experiences and control over their energy usage. Traditional methods of customer interaction often fall short, lacking the granularity to cater to individual needs.

The Impact: By leveraging data analytics, utilities can transform customer interactions. Data empowers customers to make informed decisions and fosters a sense of control over their energy consumption. This transparency builds trust and satisfaction, leading to repeat customers.

How Data Can Help:

  • Personalized Usage Dashboards: Provide customers with interactive dashboards that detail their energy consumption patterns. This allows them to identify areas for improvement and track the effectiveness of energy-saving efforts.
  • Targeted Energy-Saving Tips: Analyze usage data to deliver personalized recommendations on reducing energy consumption. This could include suggestions on optimizing appliance usage during off-peak hours or recommendations for energy-efficient upgrades.
  • Predictive Maintenance Programs: Utilize data from smart meters and sensors to predict potential equipment failures. Proactive maintenance reduces the risk of outages, improving service reliability and customer satisfaction.

#CXGoal2 : Personalized Communication

Why it's needed: Customers today expect communication that is relevant and tailored to their specific needs. Generic messages and one-size-fits-all approaches are no longer effective.

The Impact: Personalized communication builds trust and strengthens customer relationships. Customers feel valued and understood, leading to higher satisfaction and loyalty.

What it looks like:

  • Targeted energy-saving tips: Analyze customer usage data to provide personalized tips on reducing energy consumption.
  • Proactive notifications: Alert customers about potential outages in their area, estimated restoration times, and any necessary actions.
  • Customized recommendations: Recommend electricity plans or EV charging options that best fit individual customer needs and usage patterns.

#CXGoal3 : Omnichannel Customer Support

Why it's needed: Customers want to be able to reach customer service through their preferred channels, whether it's phone, email, chat, social media, or even self-service options.

The Impact: Offering multiple channels of support increases customer satisfaction and convenience. Customers can reach help when they need it most, through the channel they find most comfortable.

How to achieve it:

  • Unified customer service platform: Implement a platform that integrates all communication channels (phone, email, chat, social media) into a single system. This allows customer service representatives to access all customer interactions and provide a consistent experience across channels.
  • Cross-channel training: Train customer service representatives to provide consistent and helpful service across all channels. This ensures that customers receive the same level of care regardless of how they choose to contact the company.
  • Self-service options: Offer a mobile app or web portal for common tasks like bill payments, meter readings, and outage updates. This empowers customers to manage their accounts conveniently and reduces the load on call centers.

#CXGoal4 : Workforce Training and Development

Why it's needed: A skilled and knowledgeable workforce is essential for delivering exceptional customer service.

The Impact: Investing in employee training empowers staff to resolve customer issues efficiently and promotes a positive company culture. Satisfied and well-trained employees are more likely to provide excellent customer service.

What it includes:

  • Training on latest technologies: Equip customer service representatives with the knowledge and skills to use the latest customer service technologies and tools. This includes training on the unified customer service platform, self-service options, and data analytics tools.
  • Customer service best practices: Train staff on best practices for effective communication, conflict resolution, and problem-solving. This ensures they can handle customer inquiries with professionalism and empathy.
  • Customer-centric mindset: Foster a company culture that prioritizes customer satisfaction. Encourage employees to go the extra mile for customers and view themselves as partners in the customer experience journey.

#CXGoal5 : Proactive Outage Management

Why it's needed: Prevent outages by identifying potential problems before they occur.

The Impact: Reduces customer inconvenience and frustration caused by outages.

How to achieve it:

  • Invest in smart grid technology: Smart meters and other grid sensors collect real-time data on equipment health and weather conditions. This data can be used to identify potential problems before they cause outages.
  • Implement preventative maintenance programs: Based on data insights from smart grid technology, schedule regular maintenance for equipment to identify and address potential issues before they escalate into outages.
  • Develop a clear communication plan: Keep customers informed during outages through multiple channels like text messages, social media updates, and a dedicated outage website. Provide clear information about the cause of the outage, estimated restoration time, and any safety precautions they should take.

#CXGoal6 : Self-Service Portals and Mobile Apps

Why it's needed: Today's customers expect convenient and easy access to information and account management tools.

The Impact: Self-service portals and mobile apps empower customers to manage their accounts 24/7, reducing call center volume and improving customer satisfaction.

What it offers:

These tools should allow customers to

  • Bill Pay: View and pay your bills electronically for a faster and more convenient experience.
  • Energy Tracker: Monitor your energy usage and receive personalized tips to help you save money.
  • Outage Hub: Report power outages and track restoration progress in real-time.
  • Appointment Scheduler: Schedule service appointments for your home or business at your convenience.
  • EV Management: Control your electric vehicle charging settings and access additional features.

#CXGoal7 : Transparency in Billing and Pricing

Why it's needed: Customers appreciate clear and understandable information about their bills. Hidden fees and complex pricing structures can lead to frustration and distrust.

The Impact: Transparency in billing builds trust and empowers customers to make informed decisions about their energy consumption.

How to achieve it:

  • Breakdown the Bill: Clear explanations of each charge and its purpose on your bill.
  • Flexible Billing Options: Offer paperless billing, automatic payments, and other convenient options.
  • Educational Resources: Develop materials explaining electricity rates and different pricing plans so customers can make informed choices.

#CXGoal8 : Investment in Renewable Energy Solutions

Why it's needed: As environmental concerns grow, customers are increasingly interested in supporting sustainable practices.

The Impact: Offering renewable energy options demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and attracts environmentally conscious customers.

Possible solutions:

  • Invest in Clean Energy: Build solar or wind farms to generate clean and renewable energy.
  • Partner for Green Plans: Collaborate with renewable energy providers to offer customers green energy plans.
  • Carbon Offset Programs: Develop programs allowing customers to invest in renewable energy projects to offset their carbon footprint.

#CXGoal9 : Community Engagement and Education

Why it's needed: Building strong relationships with the communities they serve is essential for utilities.

The Impact: Community engagement fosters trust and allows utilities to understand customer needs and concerns.

Strategies for engagement:

  • Education & Empowerment: Build solar or wind farms to generate clean and renewable energy.
  • Local Partnerships: Partner with local businesses and organizations to promote energy-saving initiatives within the community.
  • Social Connection: Utilize social media to connect with customers, share valuable information, and address concerns in a timely manner.

#CXGoal10 : Gamification and Loyalty Programs

Why it's needed: Gamification and loyalty programs can incentivize customers to adopt energy-saving behaviours and engage with the utility company.

The Impact: These programs can promote energy conservation, reduce customer churn, and increase brand loyalty.

How to implement:

  • Design a Points System: Define actions that earn points (e.g., reducing energy usage, referring new customers, completing educational modules). Establish a reward system with options like bill discounts, free energy audits, or prize drawings redeemable for points.
  • Offer Compelling Rewards: Select rewards that are valuable and relevant to your customer base (e.g., discounts on bills, free services, charitable donations in their name). Consider offering tiered rewards based on the number of points accumulated.
  • Integrate Engaging Gamification: Implement badges for achieving milestones (e.g., "Energy Saver" badge for consistent energy reduction). Create leaderboards to foster friendly competition among customers for top energy-saving performance. Develop engaging challenges (e.g., weekly "Lowest Consumption Challenge") to motivate energy-saving actions.

By prioritizing these 10 CX goals, utility companies can build trust and loyalty with customers through transparency and engagement, optimize efficiency with proactive outage management and data insights, and achieve long-term success by promoting sustainability and attracting environmentally conscious customers.

My Thoughts: The Future of CX in the Utility Industry

The future of CX in the utility industry is bright and brimming with exciting possibilities. Here are some key trends I see shaping the landscape in the years to come: Utilities will leverage customer data to create customized experiences. Imagine receiving real-time energy-saving tips based on your unique usage patterns or recommendations for EV charging plans that align with your driving habits. Furthermore, utilities will position themselves as partners in sustainability. They can empower customers to track their carbon footprint, offer incentives for adopting renewable energy, and develop programs that allow customers to offset their footprint through sustainable initiatives.

AI will play a central role in streamlining operations, predicting customer needs, and proactively addressing issues. AI-powered chatbots will provide 24/7 support, analyze data to predict outages and optimize energy flow, and personalize communication. Utilities will move beyond reactive communication, leveraging AI and data analytics to anticipate customer needs and proactively address concerns, providing targeted communication about upcoming maintenance, potential outages, or personalized energy-saving tips.

Finally, the future of CX will see a more connected ecosystem between utilities, customers, and smart home devices. Imagine seamlessly integrating your smart thermostat with the utility's grid management system for automated adjustments or receiving real-time energy cost updates based on your current usage. By embracing these trends and prioritizing CX, utility industries can build lasting customer relationships, foster trust, and loyalty, and position themselves for success in the dynamic energy landscape of tomorrow.

Asokan Ashok, CTIO of SoftClouds, wrote this insightful article. Ashok is an expert in driving customer insights into thriving businesses and commercializing products for scale. As a leading strategist in the technology industry, he is great at recommending strategies to address technology & market trends. Highly analytical and an industry visionary, Ashok is a sought after global high-tech industry thought leader and trusted strategic advisor by companies.

Entrepreneur. Inventor. Product Ideation. Strategist. Visionary. Evangelist. Architect.

SoftClouds is a CRM, CX, and IT solutions provider based in San Diego, California. As technology trends are proliferating, organizations need to re-focus and align with the new waves to keep pace with the changing trends and technology. The professionals at SoftClouds are here to help you capture these changes through innovation and reach new heights.