In early April, the Speedpay team attended CS Week 2018 in Tampa, Fla., alongside utilities industry professionals from across the country. This year’s conference focused heavily on leveraging technology, including AI, chat bots, and mobile apps, to enhance the customer and bill payment experience.
Here are our top three takeaways from sessions at this year’s show:
#1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Is Changing the Customer Bill Pay Experience
The way businesses engage and converse with consumers is transforming, thanks to AI. One in six consumers currently owns a smart speaker like Amazon Alexa1 and according to Juniper Research, by 2022, smart speakers will be installed in over half (55%) of all American homes2. The implication is that consumers are more open to engaging with AI tools to make transactions. Furthermore, they’re increasingly expecting a real-time, personalized, contextualized, and on-the-go payment experience. It’s up to billers and their payment providers to deliver it.
#2. The Sharing Economy Will Drive Digital Transformation
The auto and hospitality industries are well acquainted with competition from the sharing economy, thanks to companies like Uber and Airbnb, and now its effects have reached the utilities space. According to a presentation by Gartner, by 2020, the largest energy company in the world won’t own a network or generation asset. Instead, utilities industry leaders will own digital platforms that bring together people who have access to energy and those who need it3, so if John Doe has more energy than he needs, he can sell it to his neighbor who doesn’t have enough. Instead of using physical networks, energy services will soon be offered through digital networks.
#3. Disaster Recovery Is Still Top-Of-Mind
Keeping business up and running and lines of communication open during a natural disaster has been a major topic of conversation in the utilities space, especially after the hurricanes, fires, mudslides, and floods experienced last year. After the storm lifts, utilities companies say flexibility is key, especially in terms of making payments. Duke Energy shared that they put their customers first by offering extended payment terms for those impacted by the storm. While companies should work to resume normal business activities after a storm, they also should remain flexible and nimble in the face of disaster.
With many of our clients in the business of providing power, disaster recovery is also top-of-mind for all of us here at Speedpay. For this reason, we featured a disc drop game at our exhibitor booth, where attendees could play to help us reach our goal, donating to a nonprofit dedicated to disaster relief.
Once our hard work at the show was done, we headed out to George Steinbrenner Field, the spring training home of the New York Yankees, for an evening of food and fun with our clients and colleagues.
For more information about how Speedpay can help your customers make their utilities payments, visit our website.
1 Edison Research and NPR, 2018
2 Juniper Research, 2017
3 Gartner, 2018