As we know, utilities in the UK are grappling with a significant rise in vulnerable customers. According to a study by the University of York, approximately 45 million Britons will plunge into fuel poverty this winter. The research also highlights that 86.4 percent of pensioner couples will likely fall into fuel poverty.
The global pandemic and geopolitical factors, such as Brexit and the Russia-Ukraine War, have collectively resulted in the worst inflation the UK has witnessed in decades. Amid the deteriorating cost of living crisis, customers are struggling to pay their bills. As the energy price cap rises and debts mount, customers have turned to utility providers for much-needed support.
Utilities must proactively identify vulnerable customers and leverage a human-digital blend to drive contextual customer interactions. Specialized training to handle vulnerable customers with multiple communication channels for an ‘anytime, anywhere and any language’ engagement will transform customer experience in utilities. More importantly, the customer should only have to have this conversation once and not repeat it to multiple suppliers and agencies.
This article highlights some of the critical challenges utilities face in a complex landscape and how an intelligent human-digital Customer Experience (CX) solution can help them support vulnerable customers while safeguarding their business interests. It emphasizes how companies can achieve their key objectives at this time, including:
Smart identification of vulnerable customers through an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-led virtual assistant or a digital friend
Proactive contact through a live 24x7 chat platform
Optimized omni-channel strategy
Utility customer segmentation with predictive analytics-led propensity modeling
Predictive home move management
Specialized vulnerability management training
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