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Enlit Q&A: A discussion with platinum sponsor Smart Energy Water

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Smart Energy Water (SEW), with its innovative and industry-leading cloud platforms, delivers the best Digital Customer Experiences (CX) and Workforce Experiences (WX), powered by AI, ML, and IoT Analytics to the global energy, water, and gas providers. At SEW, the vision is to Engage, Empower, and Educate billions of people to save energy and water. We partner with businesses to deliver platforms that are easy-to-use, integrate seamlessly, and help build a strong technology foundation that allows them to become future-ready.

George HuntAhead of their participation at Enlit Australia 2022 as Platinum Sponsor, we sat down with George Hunt, Chief Strategy Officer at Smart Energy Water to find out more about their mission to engage, empower and educate billions of people, and build a sustainable tomorrow.

Tell us about Smart Energy Water. How is it changing the energy industry landscape?

The energy sector is experiencing increased customer expectations and rapid technology transformation. This is leading to a focus on delivering superior customer experience and employee experience for their workforce, and also opportunities relating to the vast array of data they have from increased use of smart meters, smart assets and IoT devices. There is a great need to find effective ways of mining the data and delivering insights and impacts that make a difference to customers. All of this is further amplified with the need to protect the environment, achieve decarbonization, and deliver sustainability targets.

Smart Energy Water (SEW) is a company that takes this full mix into account. Our mission is to engage, educate and empower billions of people, and build a sustainable future. We are a global energy and water cloud platform provider serving over 350+ energy and water companies worldwide. Our platforms currently connect over 700 million people across the globe to their energy and water providers, and we have the ambition to connect 3 billion people by 2024.

Our industry-leading platforms deliver easy-to-use solutions, leverage emerging technologies such as AI, ML, and IoT Analytics, and build future-ready businesses. We have been called the ‘Uber’ and ‘Amazon’ of the energy and utility industry due to our digital customer experience (CX) innovations and our integrated workforce (WX) management platform.

Our CX platform engages and empowers customers worldwide with digital self-service, personalized, multi-channel communication and seamless customer journeys. Our field service management platform delivers end-to-end mobile workforce experience (WX). This helps create connected CX-WX experiences and also allows us to bring 5-star customer delight.

Our continued focus on CX and WX extends to empower the smart home, eMobility, smart city and the rise of ‘Resource Savvy Citizens’ who are playing their part as communities engaging in the future. With our digital solutions, service providers can connect neighbourhood infrastructure to improve operational excellence, enhance revenue potential, and promote sustainable lifestyles.

How is Customer Experience evolving in the industry?

For many years, energy providers have focused on building asset and service resilience for their operations. Now, while service resiliency is still vitally important, it is also about experiences. Consumers, like us, are expecting the same experiences from our energy and water providers that we get from our retailers or banks. The specifics for energy customers are slightly different though. Today’s technology literate customers demand more from their energy providers than monthly energy bills. They are more aware of their needs and expect more services personalized to their requirements such as tariff insights, information on smart meter installation etc. They require their energy providers to equip them with programs and initiatives to enable energy conservation. They also require more control, convenience and choice over their energy services. Energy providers need to offer omnichannel interactions and consistent experience across multiple touchpoints to meet customer expectations and also address the needs of the most vulnerable customers, those that require personalized and dedicated services.

Matured and proven technological interventions like SEW’s digital platforms can help the energy providers and retailers here. It’s all about changing the paradigm of customer engagement and establishing customer-centricity at the heart of all service operations.

We are moving away from the transactional interactions on bill payments to the next level of engagement where it is less about the customer and more about the citizen. Energy companies are recognizing the need to engage these citizens who live in the environment, belong to a community, and think about the world their children will live in. It is essential to create meaningful citizen engagement and empower them to help achieve net-zero ambitions. From providing personalized energy-saving rebates and programs to introducing services such as smart homes, EVs, renewable energy sources – energy retailers that can quickly pivot to new innovations, provide integrated offerings and engage, educate and empower the citizens, are more likely to successfully spearhead the next wave of the industrial revolution brought about by energy transition.

What can energy providers do today to ensure they deliver superior CX & services?

I believe energy providers today are making huge strides in putting customers at the heart, this is causing them to scrutinize their processes to align with what their customers really need. As these evolve further, they are embracing citizen-centricity and making data-driven decisions based on consumer insights holds the key to becoming a future-forward business.

Service providers should continue to consider all the consumers – across diverse personas, income brackets, age-groups, vulnerabilities etc. while catering the services to each individual need. Industry pioneers across the globe, and even in Australia, have taken the reins and shown the energy sector the importance of incorporating digital and mobile technology into their customer services and empowering citizens with self-service.

Energy providers are also challenged to weave in sustainability into their offerings, services, and communications, making energy efficiency easier for citizens. As COP26 rightly highlighted, we have aggressive targets to mitigate climate change, and we will only achieve them if we collaborate with citizens and empower them for active participation.

The traditional, siloed approaches adopted by the energy sector is shifting fast, and many are breaking those glass ceilings and broadening their ecosystem of partners – be it cities and municipalities, regulators, technology providers, charging station providers, or even other energy providers. To reach the pinnacle of customer experience excellence, the industry will need to fully embrace disruption, new entrants, and competition to drive further innovation.

What is the importance of customer service through workforce management solutions?

Many of us realize that if we look after our employees who are essential to provide the critical services and if we look after our frontline workers who deliver the services, then, in turn, we can enhance citizen satisfaction and citizen experience.

The evolution in the technology stack and changes in the field workflows have redefined the definition of fieldwork. Strategies around ‘Real-time’, ‘Automation’, ‘Collaboration’, ‘Predictive Insights’, ‘Powerful Analytics’, ‘Empowered Worker’, are all coming together to build an intelligent workforce. Bringing in innovations for the field technicians to build superior workforce experience (WX) is as important as adopting CX practices. With the help of digital platforms and innovative technologies, energy providers can create connected customer and workforce experiences to allow streamlined processes and service delivery excellence.

SEW’s digital workforce experience platform helps by providing intelligence to aid the management of field operations to make the service experiences effortless for the end customers. It caters to multiple use cases for operational efficiency and workforce productivity, such as auto-scheduling and dispatching the field crew in real-time through AI/ML analytics. Another innovation is live location tracking, connecting field workers to customers to ensure faster response to service requests. The platform also enables efficient management of assets and inventory throughout the lifecycle, from tracking to predictive maintenance, for optimized resource utilization and improved service levels. All these features are about providing the right tools to the workforce to deliver customer delight, and keeping them safe in all they do.

What will you be bringing to Enlit?

We are excited to be the Platinum Sponsors for Enlit Australia, connect with various industry players and leaders, and shape the world’s energy future. In the event, our company experts will delve into the latest innovations in customer experience and workforce experience in the energy sector. We will share invaluable strategies and best practices on orchestrating intelligent technologies to deliver CX excellence, provide superior field service management and build connected customer and workforce experience. We would also be discussing insights on empowering citizens towards energy efficiency and leveraging data analytics and AI to solve the biggest challenges around decarbonization for a sustainable future.

We will explore lessons from leading energy retailer Simply Energy on establishing meaningful customer relationships through an integrated digital platform. We will investigate how, Simply Energy are helping their customers manage their utility account, monitor consumption, make payments – all while becoming more energy efficient.

We will also explore the success story of a technology pioneer – intelliHUB on delivering CX excellence for commercial and industrial (C&I) customers. From intelligent insights to supporting smart city, intelliHUB will uncover secrets to driving positive change for the energy sector.

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