IDC has evaluated vendors of customer experience management (CXM) solutions to utilities: Gentrack, Hansen Technologies, MECOMS, Pegasystems, Oracle, Salesforce, and SAP.
Utilities and energy retailers are shifting from being internal process / technology centric to being truly customer centric, focusing on the customer journey and all touchpoints along the way.
Aside from the need to lower the cost to serve, companies are focused on improving customer satisfaction and net promoter scores (NPS) in competitive markets, lowering customer effort scores (CES), enhancing customer lifetime value, and lowering customer acquisition costs.
Solution providers are offering a suite of applications that manage and optimize the end-to-end omni-channel customer journey, provide a 360-degree customer view, and are enhanced by CX analytics for both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C).
The new IDC MarketScape — Worldwide Customer Experience Management Solutions for Utilities 2021 Vendor Assessment (IDC # US46154220, June 2021) — analyzes vendors’ capabilities, strategies, and comparative success in the marketplace.
It looks at how their products and services will evolve, providing metrics and context to utilities evaluating potential technology partners in this solution area.
Driven by utilities’ aspirations to become customer centric, CXM solution providers have enhanced their offerings in the space to differentiate and become more competitive. Solution providers have embedded industry-specific functionalities for marketing, sales, commerce, service, customer data, profiling and analytics, and customer engagement out of the box, said Jean-François Segalotto, associate research director, IDC Energy Insights.
Solution performance is increasingly improved, with more mature AI functionality unleashing intelligent, personalized, and digital-first customer service. Solution providers’ ability to deliver omni-channel experiences is also maturing with the aim of delivering unified contact centers.
The market offering has grown significantly in the past five years, according to both IDC Energy Insights and buyer perception.
IDC Energy Insights sees that:
The large, horizontal CXM offerings are giving way to “industry cloud” models, where those horizontal functionalities are complemented with integrated, industry-specific capabilities.
With a true 360-degree view of customers still a moving target for many, the largest vendors in this space have introduced the concept of customer data platforms.
In addition to supporting the back office, vendors are perfecting the use of AI in the front end.
CXM applications are mostly offered as software as a service, with most vendors offering a selection of pricing options. Outcome-based pricing is less common but increasingly sought after by utilities.
Functionalities are increasingly offered across various communication channels, but a unified contact center is often missing.
To provide a more seamless customer experience, customer relationship management (CRM) consolidation across customer service, field service, and customer self-service is starting and is expected to pick up pace.
The new IDC MarketScape aims to help utilities and energy retailers decide on their current or future CXM implementations and assists vendors in deepening their understanding of the competitive landscape. The evaluation is based on a comprehensive and rigorous framework that assesses vendors relative to the criteria and highlights the most influential factors for success in this market, both in the short and long term.