Improving Customer Experience for Utility Companies Through Decisioning as a Service (DaaS)

August 13, 2018 by Gary Stockton

For utility companies, the customer onboarding process can sometimes be a complex, time-consuming, and unpleasant experience, especially if a manual credit decisioning process is in play. Every time a customer interacts with your utility company — be it via the website, telephone, in-person service call, mobile app, or social media — their experience sets the tone for the overarching relationship between the customer and your company.

To improve the onboarding experience, many utilities are turning to machine learning to make faster and simpler credit decisions. However, creating a custom machine-learning decisioning engine is complex and can be costly. By leveraging machine-learning capabilities through Decisioning as a Service (DaaS) offerings, utilities can automate the decisioning process and create a frictionless customer experience. For example, a customer applying for service – even with a large utility — can be approved within seconds by an agent using a tablet.

Using DaaS to Automate Your Credit Decisions

DaaS can be used for many different types of decisioning — prescreening, prequalification, or instant credit. Utilities also use DaaS for authenticating and resolving identities and assisting with the rationalization of deposits.  Other uses include improving the customer experience, credit line management, retention, cross-selling and collections optimization.

The process is like using traditional decisioning methods where the customer or customer service agent enters the customer’s information into the website or system. The utility system then connects with the DaaS engine through an Application Programming Interface (API), The DaaS engine then aggregates real-time data from the credit bureaus and other data providers about the customer, runs them through business rules — and a decision is rendered.

The decisioning engine uses rules and algorithms to create predictive models for credit, fraud and, bankruptcy risk, profitability, retention and other key areas. The DaaS engine then automatically determines the results, such as approval, decline, instant pre-screen, cross-sell, or a collection decision. More than just providing a result, the system helps your utility know exactly how to treat the customer based on their risk level. DaaS also helps utilities by customizing offers that deliver both business value and value to the specific customer.  Additionally, the algorithms are continually updated so your decisions are always based on the current business climate, market drivers, and regulatory conditions.

Creating a Seamless and Personalized Customer Experience

From the customer’s perspective, the process is simple and seamless. Instead of waiting for hours — or possibly days — the customer receives an answer in real-time. If the decision is good news for the customer, they can move on with the process. And if the decision is not what the customer was hoping to hear, they can quickly move on and determine their next steps. There is no waiting, wondering, or anxiety.

Using DaaS also creates a more personalized experience for the customer. DaaS recommends the next best step based on the customer’s specific situation, which is an informed way to begin your relationship and sets the right tone for the future. For example, DaaS may recommend no deposit based on risk-level, or a specific product or offer of value to the specific customer.

Improving Operational Efficiency and Growing Revenue

In addition to more loyal and satisfied customers, your utility company will see operational benefits and lower costs from using DaaS. Your employees no longer need to manually process credit applications and make decisions, thus eliminating paperwork, tasks, and time. Because DaaS provides centralized decision making, you can use the technology across different enterprise frameworks, call center environments, and processing systems. This dramatically increases your efficiency by eliminating manual processes which give your employees more time working to improve the customer experience.

Because the process is more accurate than the traditional credit decisioning model, utilities can make better credit decisions. As a result, your utility can significantly reduce bad debt and fraud, which improves your overall financial health. At the same time, you can increase revenue by approving customers who are good credit risks but may have been denied using a manual or out-of-date decisioning model, and thus improve the customer experience. Additionally, your ability to more effectively cross-sell customers will help grow your revenue.

Your utility’s success depends on its ability to make quick and accurate credit decisions while also providing a positive customer experience. By using an API to integrate DaaS into your systems, you can have confidence you are making accurate decisions while creating customer loyalty, improving revenue, and reducing costs. It’s simple, it’s easy and your customers will love it.

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The latest insight, tips, and trends on all things related to commercial risk by the team at Experian Business Information Services. Please follow us on social media.

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