Energy Retailers Scaling Up Growth and Innovation in Their IT Budgets for Successful Customer Operations, Says IDC Energy Insights
MILAN, April 22, 2014 — IDC Energy Insights' latest survey of global utilities reveals that competition is driving utility retailers to invest in better-performing customer care and billing (CC&B) solutions, additional analytic capabilities, modern IT platforms, and more agile data storage facilities.
The survey also shows that the implementation of smart metering for residential customers, demand response and customer engagement programs, electric vehicles, and other innovations are increasing the functionalities, scalability, and flexibility of CC&B systems.
A recent IDC Energy Insights report (Utilities Scaling Up Growth and Innovation in Their IT Budgets for Successful Customer Operations, EISC01W, April 2014) analyzes global trends in utility retailers' activities, specifically regarding their customer operations. The report leverages two industry-specific IDC surveys covering Western Europe (IDC Energy Insights Western European Utilities Survey 2013) and North America (IDC Energy Insights 2013 Vertical IT and Communications Survey).
IDC Energy Insights research highlights that utility suppliers strive to differentiate from their competitors, not only with lower prices but also with better customer service and additional offerings especially for enhanced energy efficiency. Utility suppliers in competitive energy supply markets are leveraging a range of techniques to help their clients reduce their energy bills, including over-usage alerts and notifications, multicommodity package offers and bundling, rewards programs, and behavior change energy efficiency and gamification. In many instances, utilities have adopted gamification strategies with the support of third-party vendors, with Western European utility suppliers identifying "social games to compete with friends and neighbors on decreasing energy consumption" and "peer-to-peer consumption comparison" as the top priority additional services they plan to offer their customers in the next 12 months.
"Cost pressures and customer satisfaction call for effective and efficient delivery of a unified customer experience through customer-preferred channels," said Gaia Gallotti, research manager, IDC Energy Insights. "By accommodating customers' preferred communication channels, utilities have a higher success rate of informing and engaging their customers, often enhancing satisfaction. In Western Europe, energy suppliers expect to communicate with their customers primarily via their mobile devices, either through texts/SMS or via mobile applications."
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About IDC Energy Insights
IDC Energy Insights assists energy businesses and IT leaders, as well as the suppliers that serve them, in making more effective technology decisions by providing accurate, timely, and insightful fact-based research and consulting services. Staffed by senior analysts with decades of industry experience, our global research analyzes and advises on business and technology issues facing the utility and oil and gas industries. International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology market. IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology, media, research, and events company. For more information, please visit www.idc-ei.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.