Driving innovation, retention and customer experience in the utilities sector

Driving improvements in the utilities sector

In a sector as vital and heavily regulated as utilities, leveraging innovative technology to solve complex business problems is crucial. 

Water, gas and electricity companies face new challenges with increasing competition, compliance obligations, and changing consumer expectations. Unhappy customers with a leak or outage are quick to jump on social media, and never hesitate to leave negative comments on review sites (such as TrustPilot) when they feel their needs have not been met.

Perhaps the biggest challenge of all though is our burgeoning population, leading to considerable organic growth of trusted utility companies – of which many are still encumbered by legacy scheduling systems or using spreadsheets and emails. 

Over the past several years, Skedulo has been working with major utilities companies in several countries to solve their biggest scheduling challenges and help drive efficiencies for management and field technicians. 

Let’s take a brief look at the major pain points facing utilities companies, and how we are working hard to solve them:

Increasing competition

In an increasingly global marketplace, new competition is a risk affecting businesses in all industries. 

The utilities sector is no exception, and established companies need to work harder to retain customers by delivering timely and reliable service and a great customer experience. 

The same applies to staff retention, as skilled trades become increasingly hard to come by and attractive working conditions lure experienced technicians to companies touting more modern and efficient practices. 

Skedulo is working with new and established utilities companies, including utilities-related businesses in the rapidly evolving home automation space, to improve their customer and staff experience. 

We do this by:

  • empowering schedulers with full visibility of their mobile workforce
  • arming field workers with all the information they need to do a great job
  • offering a highly intuitive interface that users love
  • creating a system of record for future jobs 
  • improving staff confidence and safety with “check in” and “check out” capability when arriving at a job
  • reducing no shows or late shows
  • getting the right person with the right equipment for first time installs and fixes

Often working out of a van, in the cold and covered in mud, it’s crucial for utilities companies to enable their staff with a productivity platform that is as intuitive as any other application on their smartphone. And it is features like these that Skedulo does so well, which helps to promote a cohesive working environment and build loyalty to drive retention.

The utilities sector is heavily regulated, with fines (in the form of rebates) for failing to respond quickly when services are disrupted.

Compliance Obligations

Inefficient scheduling can make it difficult to get technicians where they need to be on time, and the annual cost of fines can put significant pressure on a company’s revenue targets. This is especially true with an increasingly unpredictable climate, where unprecedented weather conditions are contributing to increased risk for utilities companies.  

Other regulatory requirements, such as having appropriately qualified staff attend to certain jobs, is another challenge that legacy scheduling tools simply can’t solve easily. 

Skedulo helps utilities companies meet their compliance obligations and make intelligent scheduling decisions by:

  • driving operational efficiencies
  • making it easy to schedule jobs based on staff availability and location
  • empowering field staff to prioritise jobs to prevent fines
  • preventing the scheduling of over-qualified staff for menial jobs leading to a shortage in the event of a serious issue
  • collecting data which can be used to set benchmarks, identify problem areas, and make decisions

Changing consumer expectations

Advances in technology have led generations of consumers to expect instant responses and service delivery from the companies they buy from. 

Consumers’ ability to post negative reviews can have a lasting negative impact on reputation and even lead to investigation by regulators. Coupled with increasing competition, clever marketing and price-comparison sites, the need to deliver an outstanding customer experience is greater than ever. 

We’re helping utilities companies deliver wow-worthy customer experiences with:

  • customer notifications that provide an ‘Amazon-like’ experience to keeping customers informed at every step
  • bringing a B2C customer experience to what has traditionally been a B2B world
  • enabling customers to report outages and request service appointments online with ‘booking grids’
  • reduced pressure on the call centre which reduces waiting times to speak to an agent

Scaling to meet growing populations

Rapid organic growth can be challenging to plan for, and even more difficult to manage when you’re using legacy systems that weren’t built to scale. 

With so many moving parts, identifying the right people and processes required to fix certain issues can become very complex. This is where Skedulo steps up and makes it easy to manage a huge contingent of deskless workers quickly and seamlessly, with unlimited ability to scale. 

Some of Skedulo’s features which support rapid growth include:

  • in-built processes to simplify job management 
  • tagging of employees based on skillsets and certifications
  • automated certification expiry reminders
  • ongoing customization as business requirements change

Importantly, Skedulo’s ‘job dependencies’ feature also makes it easy to manage multiple job crews with different skills, whose work needs to be completed in sequential order to deliver a service. 

Skedulo can keep the next crew informed if the previous job runs over time, and auto schedule them to come in when it is complete. This means getting services back online faster, and keeping crews happy and informed.

Another advantage that we have worked hard to deliver is Skedulo’s rapid deployment capability. Where other systems can be clunky, complex, expensive, and require lots of configuration and training, Skedulo is purpose-built for the deskless worker and can be configured in just weeks. 

In fact, we deployed Skedulo for a major utilities company in the UK in just 6 weeks!

To find out how we can do the same for your utilities business, simply book a free demo.

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