Generative AI and the Utilities Industry: A Giant Step Toward Optimization and Customer Satisfaction
Like most industries, utility providers have taken vital steps to modernize their infrastructures and adapt to an increasingly digital world. In recent years, we’ve seen big investments in the Internet of Things (IoT), advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), as utilities companies look for ways to drive efficiencies, improve decision-making, cut costs, and better serve their customers.
We’ve now entered a new era.
The meteoric rise in generative AI, a subset of AI that enables us to “talk” to machines, presents a world of opportunities for the utility industry.
Generative AI is here, promising to change how utility companies do business. Tech giants, such as Microsoft, Salesforce, Google, AWS, and more are already embedding generative AI into the apps and solutions these organizations use every day, and it will likely become an essential part of their workflows.
Beyond that, utility companies can deploy custom generative-AI-enabled solutions throughout the organization. Generative AI goes beyond just collecting data and automating key functions. It can actually synthesize the data and provide detailed insights. Furthermore, it enables stakeholders to ask questions, dig deeper into their data and receive instant answers to their questions. In other words, it enables utility organizations to gain the full value of all their internal data so they can operate more agilely, strategize more smartly, and act fast to capitalize on opportunities or avoid risk.
Generative AI can be used to:
- Optimize grid and operations management. Generative AI will make it possible to analyze the massive amounts of data being generated by a wide range of systems, enabling providers to identify inefficiencies, better allocate resources and prevent performance failures.
- Enhance demand forecasting. Generative AI can glean insights from historical consumption data, weather patterns, and socioeconomic factors to predict with high accuracy what future demands will be so utility providers can better manage peak usage periods.
- Support renewable energy integration. Generative AI can analyze data from IoT sensors, weather forecasts, production data and more, and generate real-time, accurate renewable energy output predictions to improve management. Generative AI could also be used to create optimized designs for solar panels and wind turbines.
- Simplify infrastructure deployment. Generative AI can analyze usage, geographic and demographic data and identify ideal locations for new power plants, substations, and transmission lines.
- Empower both service agents and customers. With access to real-time customer summaries, automation, and more, organizations can streamline and improve their customer service. Consumers receive more self-service options, while service agents are armed with the information they need to solve more complex issues.
Prioritizing the customer experience
While the gains in productivity and decisioning are significant benefits, it turns out that improving the customer experience (CX) looms large in organizations’ decisions to invest in generative AI. In a recent Gartner poll, 38% of executives indicated that customer experience (CX) and retention are the primary purpose of their generative AI investments, followed by revenue growth (26%), cost optimization (17%), and business continuity (7%).
When it comes to the utility industry, adopting generative AI to improve CX is also a top priority, with 42% applying it to “create personalized customer experiences,” followed by improving asset management, developing new products and services, and improving safety.
Generative AI in Utilities Market
The opportunity to enhance CX could be the most vital benefit yet, as utilities companies grapple with how to improve low customer satisfaction rates and compete with other providers.
For starters, generative AI would enable utility providers to automate some of their customer engagement. Customers could essentially come to a self-care portal to ask questions and receive humanlike answers that far exceed typical chatbots. They could gain a clear view of their consumption, fees and more. That level of transparency and offering them more control could do wonders for customer trust and loyalty.
When customers do want to speak to an actual person, utility employees would have at their fingertips a wealth of information to guide their conversation and ensure a better outcome for the customer—and higher customer satisfaction rates. With a few queries, they could get a summary of a customer’s entire account history, including past interactions, so customer service agents are briefed on the customer’s circumstances. Customers won’t be forced to explain their situation every time they speak to a different agent, which can reduce frustration. Field techs could also benefit from real-time summaries of customer interactions before they arrive on site, enabling them to provide more custom service and actually solve issues.
Additionally, generative AI could be used to analyze customer data, behavior, and usage patterns and pinpoint new opportunities for services. Then it could segment customers by targeted product offerings, craft personalized offers or promotions, and automatically send the offers to customers. That kind of personalized service can lift engagement and conversion rates.
Ultimately, generative AI enables utility organizations to meet customers where they are, provide personalized experiences, and improve overall interactions.
Find a Strategic Partner in Neudesic
If you’d like to discuss how generative AI can benefit your organization, we’re ready to help. Just contact us today.
We’ll also be attending this year’s 2023 Digital + Cloud Summit, so if you go, make sure you stop by Booth 22 to learn how we are serving our clients across the Utilities sector!