National Grid is using artificial intelligence (AI) to engage low-income customers in the United States.
The company is expanding its implementation of EnergySavvy’s Utility Customer Experience (UCX) platform after initial pilots showed a significant increase in its ability to match low-income programmes – such as fuel assistance and energy efficiency programmes – with customer needs.
The UCX platform gives National Grid’s customer service representatives (CSRs) immediate access to personalised recommendations for each customer, enabling them to quickly identify the ‘best fit’ offers or programmes in which a customer is not currently enrolled.
“One of the challenges is quickly matching each customer with their best action given the wide range of programmes,” explained Kelly Carney, vice president of customer process enablement at National Grid. “Personalisation helps CSRs do this quickly and effectively, increasing enrolments and enhancing the customer experience.”
The initial roll-out of the platform involved 650,000 income-qualified electric and/or gas customers.
The EnergySavvy UCX platform used sophisticated data analytics to uncover new customer insights, and then provide personalised recommendations through both the call centre and email communication channels.
National Grid increased low-income programme enrolments by 53% on average in the pilot group, with some programmes seeing an increase as high as 120%. Figures also showed an 11% reduction in contact centre calls, a 16% increase in arrears collections and a 15% improvement in ‘trust’ scores among surveyed customers who went through the improved contact centre experience.
Low-to-moderate income households represent around 10-30% of a typical US utility’s customer base, making this a critical customer segment to reach, EnergySavvy said.
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