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Outsourcing Contact Center Services Helps Utilities Thrive

Business and operations leaders in the energy and utilities industry have plenty to keep them busy. They deal with regulatory changes, an aging power infrastructure, cybersecurity threats, integrating renewable energy sources and navigating workforce management challenges.

At the same time, customer expectations are higher than ever. Today’s consumers and business customers expect more from utility providers, including transparent billing, ready access to usage data, and energy management recommendations. Delivering a great customer experience requires excellent customer service and a contact center that’s well-informed and highly skilled.

Utility Contact Center Staffing and Operations Challenges

Many utilities find it operationally challenging and very expensive to staff their own contact center the way they’d like to, while focusing on critical functions that keep service flowing to the communities where they live and work. These contact center realities make it tougher today than ever:

Contact Center Outsourcing for Utilities is an Effective Solution

If you’re a utilities call center or a leader wrestling with customer service challenges for your utility, there’s help available. Contact center outsourcing, also called call center outsourcing services, helps utilities achieve lower costs with fewer headaches for you and your team. Many utilities also find that the quality of service they’re able to provide for customers actually goes up with outsourcing. That’s good for your business and the community you serve.

When comparing total costs of in-house operations versus outsourcing, utilities come out ahead when they outsource contact center services. You’re also hiring a team with specialized skills.

You’ll alleviate operational stress and cost. You can also focus your staff’s precious time and energy where it’s needed most: keeping service flowing to the communities you serve. This is especially helpful when you serve multiple communities with field teams who are on the road from town to town to provide service. 

With outsourced contact center services, you can devote your time and staff resources to the critical job of avoiding service interruptions, while at the same time making sure that customers who reach out with questions or service issues get prompt attention.

Customers don’t want to be on hold for hours about a billing question that can be easily answered in a few minutes, or to report an outage that’s disrupting their lives. At the end of the day, what you want is their trust that you’ll fix the problem. Let’s face it. In today’s digital age, people expect lightning-quick responses more than ever before.

Flexible Options to Outsource Contact Center Services for Your Utility

Utilities who choose to outsource contact center services don’t have to take an all-or-nothing approach. Contact center outsourcing doesn’t have to be a 24/7, 365-days-a-year solution. 

Simply use it when you need it most. An outsource partner can help with weather-related call overflow periods where contact volumes are higher than your in-house folks can easily handle. Some utilities choose only to outsource overflows during inclement weather or other unplanned outages.

Other utilities choose to ease into outsourced contact center services by tasking the outsource partner with an outbound calling campaign, like informing customers about service or billing changes, or inviting them to join a new incentive program. 

The right outsource partner for your utility will have recommendations about how you can give outsourcing a try to make sure it works for you before making drastic changes in how you service your customers. They can share what’s worked well for other clients to give you ideas that could work for you.

Your Utility Can Outsource More Than Just Phone Calls

Experienced, full-service contact center solutions, like ContactGURU by IMS, enable utilities to outsource both outbound and inbound customer contact (such as customer support, emergency response and billing inquiries), resulting in cost reduction and improved customer satisfaction. ContactGURU’s team also handles customer touchpoints across email, SMS, social media and chat.

Here are three key benefits ContactGURU clients have experienced when outsourcing customer contact:

Considerations for Utilities Outsourcing Contact Center Services

Here’s what we’ve found to be four common challenges and considerations when utilities outsource contact center services—and how you can overcome them.

The transition from in-house contact center operations to a partially- or fully-outsourced model can be daunting, but it’s well worth it. You are outsourcing customer contact for a very clear reason: to improve your customers’ future and strengthen your utility’s operations and cost controls. You’ll also free up time and money you can invest in your utility’s improvement and growth. 

Learn more about how your utility can streamline operations and reduce costs with contact center outsourcing. Book a call with the ContactGURU team at IMS to learn how they can work with utilities like yours.