Energy customers today expect easy, intuitive experiences when it comes to their account and billing. Yet many retailers still use outdated customer information systems (CIS) and billing technology that slow down their operations and fail to meet the needs of their customers.
Migrating to newer customer service and billing systems comes at a cost, but it saves money in the long run. Security, reliability, and ease of maintenance are all significantly improved with a modern cloud-based solution. As are your sales performance, customer satisfaction, and customer life-time value.
Here are the 3 big reasons why it’s time to consider updating your systems.
You will see exponential benefits
Rapidly changing trends in energy technology and consumer habits have strengthened the business case for upgrading your systems.
Firstly, consumers now expect simple-to-use, mobile-friendly customer service and billing platforms. Systems that primarily rely on phone calls and paper mailings are largely outdated, and deliver poor service. If two retailers offer similar services at similar prices, customers might base their decisions on the company whose systems are easiest to use.
Second, the power of automation has increased significantly in recent years. With artificial intelligence, an explosion in customer data collection, and better integration with other software, companies can improve efficiency and gain new capabilities. Technology shouldn’t just support your operations, it should empower you to completely transform them.
The user interface of modern systems is easier for employees to use as well. This speeds up onboarding and training, as well as day-to-day performance. Intuitive systems also make it much easier to use remote workers or third party partners, and cut out costly mistakes through pre-configured portals.
Costs of legacy platforms will keep increasing
Energy companies provide critical infrastructure that is vulnerable to malware and other cyberattacks. This makes legacy systems a liability, even for less critical functions like billing and customer service. Especially as attacks can spread from a poorly-secured legacy customer service system to a more critical system that controls how the grid operates.
As companies scale up their infrastructure legacy billing and customer service systems can be a bottleneck. Billing, in particular, is crucial for all sorts of other operations. A slow or inefficient system can make other IT projects more painful and costly as well.
Additionally, the cost to maintaining legacy systems grows with age. These systems might be tied to specific hardware that fails as it gets older, or might require specific skills which become rarer as employees retrain onto new technologies.
Upgrade with confidence
Migrating to a more advanced system doesn’t have to be a disruptive process. By taking some simple tips into account, energy retailers can avoid issues while moving to a more modern system:
- Do your homework. Make sure that the new system meets all of the company’s requirements in a test environment.
- Consider future expansion needs when configuring the new system. Don’t just plan for new markets, plan for integrating with new technology and customer engagement tools as well. Think what your business will needto look like in 5 – 10 years, and make sure your provider can support that new operational model (or has a plan to get there).
- If necessary, emulate the old system’s interfaces and APIs to retain compatibility with your existing technology investments.
Done right, the advantages of switching to modern customer service and billing technologies vastly outweigh the costs, especially since the benefits continue to increase every year. Additionally, the risks of staying behind on old systems are higher than ever. Legacy systems are difficult to keep secure and efficient, especially with rapidly changing market conditions.
Contact us when you’re ready to make the transition to a cloud-based energy platform. We’ve got extensive experience in delivering painless migrations for complex customer databases, that deliver value fast without missing a beat.