Contact Center Solutions Featured Article

Opower's Customer Engagement Platform Gets a Makeover with New Analytic Tools

October 15, 2014

Enterprises all over the world, across many industries and sectors, have woken up to the importance of delivering sound customer service. The utility sector is no exception. In fact, at a time when the earth’s fossil fuel reserves are fast diminishing, the gas, water and electric utility companies are striving to take the customer relationship to a far deeper level, so that they may find themselves in a better position to influence their customers to adopt more sustainable lifestyles and minimize the waste of resources.

Realizing utility companies’ needs for innovative, high performing customer care solutions, Opower has enhanced its cloud-based software platform that is used by utility majors all over the world.

The new generation of its cloud-based technology platform, Opower 5.5: Flex, is more intelligent, more flexible and packed with more customer engagement features.

Thanks to a series of patent-pending customer analytics and automation features, the new generation of platform allows companies to deliver a personalized customer experience to millions of utility company customers.

“We invested significantly in this latest platform release to extend our deep analytic and automation capabilities and to launch an open ecosystem for partners, so that we can deliver even stronger business results for our utility clients,” Opower CEO Dan Yates explained in a statement. “Our utility partners are focused on improving their customer engagement capabilities, and they need enterprise class solutions. This mid-year release continues the journey we began in Opower 5: Flex, and adds a new layer of ecosystem extensibility and platform sophistication.”

The enhanced platform allows utility companies to create segmented marketing content for different customer groups. These groupings are done on the basis of the customers’ load profiles, such as late afternoon peakers or midday users.

With the new generation of platform, the utilities will also be able to garner useful insights on the patterns of household energy usages relating to heating, cooling, appliances, hot water heating, and other categories without smart meter infrastructure.

Interestingly, Opower 5.5: Flex combines these insights with behavioral science techniques to deliver outbound communications to the commercial as well as residential customers. Armed with Visual Segmentation tool, the enhanced platform helps optimize customer communications based on behavioral patterns. This not only helps reduce dependence on call centers, but also helps to fully leverage the software’s analytical capabilities.

For instance, the enhanced platform comes with automatic enrollment capability and allows for delivering automated personalized communication to the customers who recently moved into a new home.  This allows the utilities to forego costly, people-intensive segmentation revision.

In a news statement, Opower claimed that its existing customers have already acknowledged the many benefits of the enhanced platform. National Grid, a long standing partner of Opower for example leveraged the new capabilities of Opwer 5.5: Flex to effectively manage the consumption peaks during the summer months.

“During summer heat waves, our customers in Massachusetts experienced spikes in their electricity usage driven by increased HVAC usage. Through the use of Opower analytics, we were able to provide 85,000 customers with a disaggregated view of their seasonal electricity consumption, giving them the tools to manage their usage during the summer months,” National Grid's VP of Customer Strategy and Environment Ed White noted in a statement.

Opower is striving to build up an open partner ecosystem around Opwer 5.5: Flex platform. The initiative is aimed at unlocking new benefit streams from this cloud based platform, Opower reps explained in a news statement. 

Edited by Alisen Downey