• PDF: Delivered by email usually within 4 to 8 UK business hours.
  • PRINT/CD-ROM: Despatched within 1 to 2 working days.

Customer Satisfaction, Smart Meters and the Utility Billing Process

  • Publication Date:April 2010
  • Publisher:Datamonitor
  • Product Type: Report
  • Pages:38

Customer Satisfaction, Smart Meters and the Utility Billing Process

Billing is a hugely expensive process within a utility, and billing systems cost an incredible amount of money to replace. The introduction of smart meters places an enormous amount of pressure on the technology that underpins a utility's meter-to-cash value chain and will force utilities to replace their legacy billing systems.

Scope

  • The causes of customer complaints surrounding utility billing
  • How smart metering will be a significant driver of billing system investments in the next ten years
  • How utilities must not lose focus of the customer during smart meter deployments

Highlights

  • Both C&I and residential customers have huge problems with the utility billing process: both sets report problems with bill estimation, while C&I customers struggle with bill clarity and flexibility. These problems are caused largely by lax business processes, poorly motivated staff and technology that fails to meet utilities' requirements.
  • Smart metering will be the single most important future driver for CIS investment in the next 10 years. Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) removes the problems with bill estimation, but also introduces a similar level of complexity in residential billing that utilities currently struggle with when billing C&I customers.
  • If a utility is to best manage customer satisfaction during and after AMI deployment, a utility will have to invest in bill presentment and associated CRM technologies. Given the current technology gaps, Ovum sees a market opportunity for more advanced CIS software, for instance from vendors with experience in telecommunications billing.

Reasons to Purchase

  • Understand the causes of customer complaints surrounding utility billing
  • See how smart metering will be a significant driver of billing system investments in the next ten years
  • Understand why utilities should invest in bill presentment to manage customer satisfaction during a smart meter deployment.
  • Summary
    • Catalyst
    • Ovum view
    • Key messages
    • from poor business processes and supporting technology through to CIS migrations, billing in utilities can have a huge impact on customer satisfaction
    • AMI's inherent complexity will be the most important future driver for CIS investment
    • Utilities are likely to focus their future CIS investments on process enablement; they ignore customer satisfaction management at their peril
    • Investment in presentment technologies requires further investment in CRM
    • Current gaps in CIS technology create opportunities for new vendors
    • Recommendations for utilities
    • Recommendations for vendors
    • Table of Contents
  • Market Context: The Problems Utilities' Customers Have with Billing Are Caused by A Combination of People, Processes and Technology
    • The billing of both residential and C&I customers is a problem area for utilities
    • Utilities are not good at providing customer service, and this costs them money
    • Billing is the principal cause of residential customer complaints across the world
    • Estimation and clarity are the principal causes of customer complaints
    • C&I customers' causes of complaints are more complex than residential
    • Estimation is still an issue for MEUs
    • Utilities' corporate culture, business processes, staff and technology are all to blame for causing customer dissatisfaction with the billing process
    • Residential customers are let down by poor processes and badly trained staff
    • C&I customers are being failed by the inability of current CIS technology to report complex billing data
    • The replacement of utility billing systems can have a devastating impact on customer satisfaction
    • European regulation is leading the way in improving customer satisfaction with utility billing
  • Business Focus: Cis Replacements Only Happen When Absolutely Needed; Ami Will Be The Biggest Future Driver of Cis Upgrades
    • Most utilities will avoid CIS replacements if they can
    • Historic CIS upgrades were spurred by liberalization, mergers and aging technology
    • Market liberalization has been a major catalyst for CIS upgrades
    • Where residential market liberalization has occurred, so have CIS upgrades
    • Market liberalization has seen recent investments in C&I billing
    • Multiple acquisitions can make legacy CISs too unwieldy to manage
    • Ancient legacy CISs lack the functional requirements of today's utilities
    • AMI's inherent complexity will be the most important driver for CIS investment in the future
    • CRM systems will have to be adapted to cope with changed or new business processes
    • The complexity AMI introduces to billing will require radical amendments of existing billing engines
    • on its own, AMI is unlikely to improve customer satisfaction, and may make it worse
    • While smart meters remove the need for bill estimation
    • . utilities should not expect a fall in residential customer complaints in the short term
    • in the long term, residential complaints will shift focus to the clarity of bills
  • Technology Focus: The Importance of Billing Presentment Should Not Be Overlooked When Managing Customer Satisfaction
    • Utilities are likely to focus their CIS investments on process enablement
    • Bill presentment technologies are essential to managing customer satisfaction
    • Current billing systems are unable to cope with current C&I contract complexity
    • AMI creates a billing landscape where issues for C&I and residential customers will be similar
    • Tackling complexity through better presentment for both C&I and residential customers will be the battleground of the future
    • The requirement for more flexible, agile and insightful presentment for C&I continues to go unfulfilled
    • Both non-AMI and AMI residential billing will benefit from more advanced bill presentment
    • Investment in presentment technologies require further investment in CRM
    • Current gaps in CIS technology create opportunities for new vendors
  • Recommendations
    • Recommendations for utilities
    • Remember the customer
    • Billing and CRM inaccuracies impact cost-to-serve, so minimize disputes and manage them well when they do arise
    • Different CIS strategies all come with different risks attached
    • in a true AMI world, a legacy CIS is unlikely to work; retaining at least part of a legacy CIS in an AMI deployment will impact performance elsewhere
    • Utilities, vendors and systems integrators can learn from past migrations
    • Complexity of the new processes will likely cause some utilities to be flexible over ownership
    • Recommendations for vendors
    • Size of utility is a big factor in vendor selection
    • The different structure and regulation of utility markets create different requirements
    • Market liberalization and AMI will not occur across all markets
    • The drivers for AMI deployment will impact the related CIS investments utilities have to make
    • Alternative views
  • Appendix
    • Ask the analyst
    • Definitions
    • Further reading
    • Methodology
    • Disclaimer
  • List of Figures
    • Figure 1: The quality of billing and complaints-handling processes in the contact center affects cost-to-serve
    • Figure 2: Billing is the principal cause of customer complaints around the world
    • Figure 3: Billing inaccuracies are the biggest cause of complaint among UK residential consumers in 2010
    • Figure 4: 40% of MEUs in the UK report an average or worse experience with their billing
    • Figure 5: Billing accuracy is a key requirement of major energy users in the UK
    • Figure 6: Accuracy and clarity are the areas where most MEUs want to see an improvement
    • Figure 7: There are a number of processes that contribute to residential billing complaints
    • Figure 8: British Gas recorded a huge spike in complaints during its billing migration
    • Figure 9: Liberalized markets require additional processes in the residential retail environment
    • Figure 10: AMI functionalities introduce complexity to existing processes and add completely new ones
    • Figure 11: A large number of core processes are impacted by AMI
    • Figure 12: AMI will change the basic processes of the contact center
    • Figure 13: Market liberalization and AMI affect different processes within a utility's retail operations
    • Figure 14: Ovum expects further investments in technology along the meter-to-cash value chain
    • Figure 15: There are many similarities between future residential and current C&I billing complexities
    • Figure 16: All the major players in a CIS migration must contribute to the success of CIS migrations
+44 20 8816 8548

Ask a question about Customer Satisfaction, Smart Meters and the Utility Billing Process

Enter the characters you see in the picture below
Captcha