Is Your Water Utility Ready for a Digital Transformation?

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Written by: Ali Barsamian

2021-08-GR-VertexOne-B6-Water Utility

More industries are turning to digital solutions to build business resilience, oversee costs, handle emergencies, optimize resources, and track performance. Is this digital transformation of utilities just a temporary answer, or is it here to stay?

 

Is Your Utility Ready for a Digital Transformation?

There are many factors to consider before going digital. The following questions can help utilities assess their current situation before undergoing a digital transformation:

  1. Will cloud-based and digital solutions improve customer satisfaction, interaction, and engagement?
  2. Will this transformation lead to better self-service adoption, resulting in fewer calls to customer support specialists?
  3. How will customers engage with digital portals? 
  4. Are your utility customers more likely to access a digital portal on desktop computers or mobile devices? 
  5. Will customers have the ability to connect between different networks, devices, and platforms?
  6. Will the digital solution allow coordination between your field service teams and customer support staff?
  7. Will your utility employees have the ability to integrate data from multiple systems into a single cohesive solution?

 

Benefits of Digital Transformation for Utilities

1. Improved Customer Satisfaction

Digital advancements in metering, customer service processes, and overall management allows utilities to proactively approach customer satisfaction. It’s beneficial for utilities to understand the channels of communication (e.g., physical bills, emails, user portals, text messages, voice calls) that customers prefer so that they can meet them where they are.

Even if customers are reluctant to create online accounts, make electronic bill payments, or sign up for automatic payments, utilities can still provide consumption insights, monthly bills, utility announcements, or outage alerts via emails or text messages. Offering a straightforward, simple way for recipients to opt out of notifications can improve total customer engagement and reduce complaints. 

 

Catch our UtilityWide Talk on debt relief and revenue security to see how  utility experts are improving collections and reducing billing costs.

 

2. Streamlined Employee Processes

Before undergoing a digital transformation, it’s important to take an honest look at your internal staff. Are they flexible? How will they adapt to the new challenges of an increasingly digital workplace? Billing solution providers that understand digital evolution—such as Vertex One—can assist with this process through comprehensive staff training and support. As more seasoned utility workers retire and younger workers replace them, continuous employee guidance and training becomes more important than before. 

Other factors, such as environmentally-friendly initiatives and consumer demands, are also forcing utilities to think long term, proactively planning for possible disruptions and disasters. This was especially true in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses across the country, altering how utilities had to handle customer service and the operation of their systems.

VertexOne offers reliable implementation services to utilities, meeting them where they are in their digital transformation journeys. This approach creates comprehensive roadmaps that address the utility’s current and future digital transformation needs.

 

3. Boosted ROI with Data Collection 

Collecting data to better understand the needs of your customers and current resource allocation can save money by improving efficiency in the areas of investments and operations. This process automation can result in higher output at lower rates, while also maximizing current investments. Approximately 28 percent of utilities are using cloud-based services across all areas of their business, but the data from those services isn’t being used to gauge operational efficiency, improve customer-focused support, and proactively deal with failures.

The modern needs and standards of consumers are rapidly changing, and the use of cloud-based software such as WaterSmart not only provides them with the excellent service they expect, but also improves the overall utility customer experience. Innovative cloud and digital capabilities enable utility billing solutions providers, such as VertexOne, to provide customers with intelligent, hosted and managed offerings and improve utility ROI.

 

The Next Step for Utilities

A digital change is coming—one that will improve the daily operations, output, and customer support of utilities and make the lives of utility staff easier. VertexOne is your utility’s prime solution for this upcoming digital transformation. Learn more by watching our webinar, “UtilityWide Talk: Debt Relief and Revenue Security.”

 

Utility communications and expanded digital payment access webinar

 

Ali Barsamian, VP of Marketing, oversees VertexOne’s marketing activities and works closely aligned with the Sales and Business Development teams.

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