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Perspectives

Regional Utility Reboots the Digital Customer Experience

2015-10-13


PNM uses proactive outage alerts, a new customer interface and omni-channel consistency to empower customers and reduce service costs.

PNM uses proactive outage alerts, a new customer interface and omni-channel consistency to empower customers and reduce service costs.


Utilities don't always get to feel the customer love and until recently, PNM – which provides electricity to over 500,000 New Mexico residents – fell squarely into that camp. Customers seeking any sort of support or service were dismayed by the company's Web site, which offered only limited self-service tools and was not optimized for mobile devices. The site's design also made it difficult to enhance features or update content.

Further, the utility's customer service processes were inconsistent across its phone, Web and mobile channels, even for a simple address change or service outage notification. Siloed systems only added to the difficulty of achieving omni-channel consistency. The result: customer dissatisfaction and high support costs, as service reps continued to resolve issues over the phone.

We performed a digital platform assessment for PNM and – in just 18 months – provided an end-to-end overhaul of the online customer experience.

We first identified all of PNM's customer touchpoints, engagement channels, processes and transactions. We then reviewed its current business processes and systems and developed an execution plan that reflected industry best practices and PNM's own vision for customer service. We designed, developed and implemented a service-oriented architecture-based approach to provide new business capabilities to reshape the customer experience, establishing a single interface for all the utility's support channels to access its back-office systems.

Our design services team developed a compelling online customer experience (see the before and after screenshots, below). We modified a number of business workflows that were dampening customer satisfaction. For example, we helped develop the utility's first process for proactively notifying customers of unplanned outages and service resumption. We also built and implemented interfaces and workflows that consolidated previously siloed information about outages, along with estimates for service restoration.

Figure 1

We simplified the execution of address and service changes through online and mobile channels. Using our newly designed enterprise service bus, it is also now easy for the utility to create interfaces with outside parties such as credit bureaus and credit card processing companies. A new content management system (CMS) speeds the flow of timely information to customers by allowing business managers to update the Web site without help from the IT department. We also delivered a responsive mobile Web site that provides an improved user experience, as well as performance and security testing for the new delivery infrastructure.

This digital transformation was completed in half the time originally expected by the customer. Benefits include:

  • Improved customer satisfaction ratings.

  • Reduced issue resolution time and costs through use of the CMS to share customer views of systems with service reps.

  • Enhanced the Web site to allow customers to process address changes, reducing call volumes by an estimated 10%.

  • Enabled 90% of all consumer transactions to be performed through lower cost online channels.

  • Increased the number of online users by 84%.

  • Increased the number of visitors to the mobile site by 70%.

  • Increased the number of customers using paperless billing by 80%.

  • Enabled real-time alerts for issues such as service outages and payment reminders.

  • Accelerated time to market through same-day publication of business content.

  • Enabled the use of real-time Google Analytics reports, which provide insights into which pages customers visit most, such as those describing rebates or energy efficiency programs.

We continue to work with PNM to roll out new online features that will further enhance the customer experience and reduce operational costs. These include the ability to start, stop and transfer services and to allow authorized agents such as property owners to perform transactions on behalf of consumers.

For a more detailed account of this case study read, Regional Utility Reboots Customer Satisfaction by Reshaping the Digital Customer Experience or learn more about Cognizant's Energy & Utilities practice by visiting us at www.cognizant.com/energy-utility.

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Regional Utility Reboots the Digital Customer Experience