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Digital Transformation for Revolutionised Customer Service: Utilities

Digital Transformation for Revolutionised Customer Service in Utilities

Find out why digital transformation in the utilities industry is critical to empower employees, create value and elevate the customer journey.

Digital transformation in the utilities industry can impact an organisation’s future, efficiency, environmental impact, and customer service.

A digital transformation can mean the end of paper trails and improves end-to-end resolve time for customer issues. Digital is helping the way many create value, manage costs, and serve customers. So, how do well-established businesses turn their attention to digital and transform processes while maintaining a competitive advantage?

Many utilities have had to accelerate their digital transformation. The companies that are adopting best-in-class digital solutions are empowering employees by providing new, agile technology. And, not only can these transformations impact business costs, but it also has a significant impact on customer experience.

Thames Water is a Trailblazer that is empowering its 9,000 employees and strategic partners by implementing Salesforce technology to support its digital transformation. As one of the largest water utility companies in the UK, Thames Water serves 2.6 billion litres of clean water to over 3.6 million properties each day. Historically, the organisation has used up to 13 systems to support customers through their journeys.

Digital transformation is a large task for a company of this size, with so many moving parts. Thames Water looked to Salesforce to support the integration of technology across its operations. This involved creating an innovative solution that is user-centric and ensures effective engagement with customers throughout their journey.

How can digital transformation in utilities lead to employee empowerment and better customer service? In this blog, we’ll deep dive into the importance of digital transformation for customer service, how utilities can put digital transformation at the heart of operations, and employee empowerment examples.

Why utility companies need to embrace digital transformation

More and more companies are implementing automation into operations. Automated models and operations help improve the customer journey and place customer-centricity at the core of processes. But digital transformation can be risky — and difficult. One of the main challenges is finding the right solutions that make digital transformation possible.

To embrace digital transformation, utility companies must consider replacing outdated processes with innovative technology tailored to their industry. New digital opportunities can improve an organisation’s culture and customer experiences. Thinking digitally will help organisations become flexible and meet the customers’ needs in a changing market.

Companies that haven’t yet embraced digital transformation are falling behind. Many are using a large number of outdated systems. When Thames Water looked to update processes that had been in place since 1999, they rolled out a Work Force Management (WFM) programme, which is now introducing Salesforce across operations. This is a key enabler to customer service transformation across the business The user-centric solution is designed to provide teams with an integrated system of the company’s water and wastewater operations across London and the Thames Valley, and much more visibility of the customer journey in real time.

With agile automation tools in place, employees are empowered to work more efficiently and flexibly — and resolve issues much faster.

Digital transformation helps you put customers first. With the right technology, you can increase the efficiency of your utility company, provide excellent customer service, and maximise your resources. Applications like Service Cloud offer an end-to-end solution to help you do this.

Empowering employees in the utilities sector through digital transformation

Ensuring the right technologies are in place means you can help your teams work faster and smarter, while providing better customer service.

It’s critical to enable your employees to embrace transformation. They are the best data sources for developing a tailored solution that can help your organisation adapt digitally. Your employees are deeply ingrained in your present procedures. So, organisations should work closely with their teams to understand obstacles in their processes and channels to inform digital transformation and overall customer service.

Thames Water looked to its employees to design and deliver the new solution. From product owners to frontline managers, Thames Water employees are ensuring the solution is user-centric and set up to deliver an outstanding customer experience.

Thames Water has transformed its operations and empowered teams with new technologies to manage customer journeys and offer greater flexibility. By using Salesforce tools, including the Service Cloud solution, the utility has empowered its employees to respond faster to service needs with 360-views of customers. Thames Water can now instantly notify engineers through the Field Service app, providing access to quick view maps and a high-level overview of important customer information, which helps the organisation react faster to localised issues.

For Thames Water, a digital-first approach is critical to delivering outstanding customer service. The Salesforce solution will remove barriers across operations to improve the customer’s journey. And by investing in the appropriate tools and technologies, the organisation is able to empower its workforce.

Lessons learned from Thames Water

Thames Water experienced many learnings while rolling out Salesforce as part of its Work Force Management programme — a digitalised innovative solution designed by its employees, for employees.

The organisation identified business readiness and team preparation as key to ensuring a smooth transition. As such, the journey could have been improved by incorporating learning and development employees into scrum meetings to gain a better understanding of the product and how it evolved in its initial rollout phase.

A learning environment proved to be very different from a real-world environment, too. Thames Water is looking for ways to improve the transition by increasing ‘buddying up’ across its teams and immersing employees into the technology at a much earlier stage.

Thames Water initially concentrated on a small operational area to learn lessons for the future and how to best teach its wider teams. Following the successful implementation of the WFM system in its waste network business, the organisation will scale the solution across the entire organisation, beginning with water services and then moving through to its teams at treatment and production sites.

Preparing your business for digital transformation

Businesses can minimise the risks of digital transformation by preparing employees during the primary phase. This will help teams gradually adapt to the technology. Employees will be well-established in your current technology, so a gradual rollout can be helpful in identifying setbacks when transforming large-scale operations.

You can tap into new automation and integration opportunities using the right technologies, and it’s more important than ever for organisations to accelerate their digital ambitions to face the future.

Embracing digital transformation is critical for utilities to deliver outstanding customer experience, improve efficiency, and empower employees.

See how Thames Water is revolutionising customer service with empowered employees in this on-demand recording from our recent Salesforce Live event.

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