Smart Grid is a hot topic of conversation these days. To those not familiar, Smart Grid is the use of intelligent devices and systems to support more efficient and reliable delivery of electricity using digital technology. Smart Grid technologies and tools enable real-time rating, billing, and data management for utilities and customers.
Back in the day, electric utilities focused on “wires and poles,” rather than on sales and services. Few utility companies had consumer-oriented marketing departments. Fewer had consumer education strategies. But since Smart Grid has emerged, the game has changed.
Here are the impacts that Smart Grid Billing has built to the frame of customer engagement:
New approach to customer engagement
Utility companies have moved towards a new approach to consumer engagement. They transitioned to a model of customer service and sales that puts customers first. They now understand that they can only gain consumers’ support and active participation if they create a positive and high quality customer experience.
According to Stravity Group, the “customer experience” covers the sum of how customers engage with a company or product/program not just in a single interaction, but over the entire duration of their interactions. Companies in a range of sectors have moved towards a focus on customer experience, and have been rewarded with higher customer referral rates and customer satisfaction.
Customer-centric programs and services
Utilities have become more serious in consumer concerns. This implies responding to consumer needs and interests involving providing the right information to consumers. It also means developing programs and services that provide value to consumers, as well as investing time and resources in marketing and education to ensure that consumers understand and take advantage of the opportunities to participate in the smart grid.
iFactor Consulting, a leading provider of customer communications solutions for the utilities sector, said smart grid billing confirms the need for utility companies to enhance their communication channels and plan their strategies for building impactful and successful communications for their customers.
Consumers’ support and participation
Consumer participation is one of the most important characteristics and impacts of Smart Grid. This takes shape in two forms – electricity production and consumption.
Ganesh Kumar Venayagamoorthy, Duke Energy distinguished professor at Clemson University, once said thatSmart grid will create a new lifestyle for electricity consumers. Smart grid technologies, deployed all the way to the end user, allows consumers to know exactly how much electricity they consume to roast a chicken or when lights are left on instead of being turned off. In-home energy management systems will enable interested consumers to keep track of how much energy they are using and for what purpose.