3 ways AI is transforming how utilities serve customers

The utility sector has long been known for reactive customer service, long wait times, and impersonal responses to inquiries. Much of that has been by necessity: Customer service teams are often hampered by technological obsolescence, manual processes, and high demand that can fluctuate dramatically based on seasons and events (e.g. university move-ins and move-outs). Fortunately, technological advancements have paved the way for tremendous improvements in this space, and they’re more accessible than ever before.

Among the foremost of these advancements is artificial intelligence. Although some have mistakenly dismissed AI as merely a buzzword or a passing technological novelty, it’s neither. In fact, the tangible impact of AI on utilities’ business operations, efficiency, and customer experience has already been seen and continues to evolve rapidly.

Microsoft Copilot

Read on to discover how Microsoft’s Copilot AI, natively embedded in our UMAX CIS/CRM, can:

  1. Enhance customer experience
  2. Alleviate demand on your customer service teams
  3. Boost operational efficiency

These are three critical factors for staying competitive amidst the changing technological landscape.


Customers feel like you know them personally—and understand their needs

AI-enhanced customer self-service ensures your customers have immediate access to more accurate, more personalized responses to their questions. Leveraging natural language processing (NLP) and machine-learning algorithms to better understand customer inquiries, AI-powered chatbots and virtual assistants can respond promptly with personalized responses based on customer preferences and historical interactions. This ensures their replies don’t read like canned templates or boilerplate text; instead, they feel like an authentic human response. Whereas human CSRs work a set number of hours each day, these chatbots are available 24/7 to ensure your customers have resources available to them on their schedule and on their preferred channel.

For inquiries requiring a human touch, AI equips your CSRs with conversation summaries, a robust knowledge base, and customer sentiment analysis to instantly assess a customer’s mood and tailor responses to foster more amicable interactions. It can also assess whether escalation to a supervisor is necessary. At the conclusion of an interaction, a case log provides a full record and summary of the conversation, logging it with the customer’s account. This ensures customers feel as though your utility truly knows them and understands their needs any time they reach out for assistance. This also improves productivity: the next CSR working with this customer won’t need to read through past cases and interactions, they can consult the summary to immediately bring them up to speed.


Customer service representatives (CSRs) achieve maximum productivity more quickly and easily

Training a new CSR to navigate your CIS and independently assist customers with billing questions can take months. But equipped with AI, your utility will realize tremendous acceleration in CSR training time. Onboarding new CSRs becomes quicker and easier by providing them with access to intuitive knowledge bases containing your utility’s training material, FAQs, and policies.

This also enables you to maintain a leaner, more experienced staff capable of the same level of productivity as a much larger team. While AI answers the routine, repetitive, time-consuming customer questions, your CSRs can focus on higher-value operational tasks. This paves the way for much higher productivity and efficiency.

See it for yourself!

Demo of a CSR interacting with Itineris’ UMAX CIS & CRM solution for utilities. UMAX leverages Microsoft Copilot AI to enhance productivity and customer service.


Your utility stays agile in a dynamic market

Utilities must manage numerous channels – knowledge bases, chatbots, websites, etc.- and keep them consistent to avoid contradictions and confusion. AI enables you to generate clear answers to topics a single time before deploying them in your interactive voice response (IVR) and chatbot. This ensures consistent, up-to-date answers will be provided regardless of which channel a customer uses. This also requires less effort to stay current and accurately respond to what is happening in the market.

The benefits of AI will continue to expand and evolve as the technology matures, but the value it can add to your organization with enriched customer experience and operational efficiencies can already be realized today. Embracing AI-driven strategies is now a crucial step for any utility seeking to become an industry leader.

How we can support you in this journey

A flexible CIS & CRM solution, along with natively embedded AI tools, such as Itineris’ UMAX, can significantly enhance your customer service and overall productivity. Consistency and simplicity are both vital in achieving this goal. Because Microsoft’s Copilot AI is a natively embedded component of Itineris’ UMAX CIS/CRM, no add-ons or clumsy interfaces between standalone tools are required to achieve results. All functionality is consolidated and ready to use out of the box.

UMAX by Itineris
UMAX by Itineris

UMAX is a flexible CRM & CIS solution , built on the powerful and secure Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform. This platform, known for its low-code and cloud-based nature, is seamlessly integrated with Microsoft Azure and incorporates robust toolsets, including Microsoft PowerBI. Moreover, Itineris’ data intelligence tools, which can be easily integrated with external systems, can help you achieve seamless and efficient data sharing and visualisation.

UMAX is a set of modern, configurable Customer Information System (CIS), CRM, Asset and Field Services Management solutions, specifically designed for utilities and developed on the powerful Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform. UMAX is natively embedded with Microsoft’s Copilot AI, making it a powerful and flexible solution for all your business needs. Our solutions simplify daily tasks through automation and user-defined workflows, supported by insightful analytics and actionable data.

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