The potential for the use of Conversational AI technologies such as chatbots and voice assistants can be found in almost every industry. But especially in the customer service of the energy industry, there are many use cases that can optimize the use of internal resources and strengthen customer loyalty through automated communication.

"80% of all requests can be solved by a well-designed bot. - Accenture "Chatbots in Customer Service" 2016

For example, necessary but for customers often annoying processes, such as the transmission of the meter reading, can be automated with the help of bots. Recurring questions about tariffs or requests for adjustments of the monthly payment can also be answered by bots without the help of employees.

Systems such as chat- and voice bots answer customer queries automatically 24/7 with the help of artificial intelligence. This happens in websites - chats, in messaging platforms, or even on the phone. Customer service employees are only consulted if the bot cannot answer an inquiry.

Possible applications for chatbots in the energy industry

Chatbot Use Cases for the energy industry

  1. Reporting the counter reading via chatbots 

Chatbots are wonderfully suited to take over process-oriented conversations. For example, if users want to submit their meter readings, data such as customer number and meter number are first requested for identification. Then the chatbot asks the users to enter the current meter reading and to inform it of the reading date.

Through integration with enterprise systems, such as SAP, the chatbot can store the data directly in the customer profile. The connection can also be used to check whether the new meter reading differs greatly from the old value. If this is the case, the chatbot can ask for a reason. 

The transmission of the meter reading can be made even more convenient for the customer by using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology: The software enables chatbots to capture text and numbers on images. Customers only need to upload an image of the meter. The chatbot then reads the meter number and the meter reading directly from the image.

How this use case can be implemented in detail, you can read in the blog post "Report meter readings with chatbots" .

Chatbot Karl transmits the meter reading

2. How chatbots can help you move

In addition, chatbots offer customers the opportunity to easily take their electricity and gas contracts with them to their new home in the event of a move. For this purpose, it is again only necessary to register with the customer and meter number to be verified and the new home address to which the delivery should continue to be made. The bot then asks for the meter reading of the old apartment when moving out, the date of the apartment handover at the old and new apartment, and the meter number and the meter reading of the new apartment. 

Here too, customers benefit from uncomplicated processing: Since the bot is integrated into the company systems, all data can be stored directly. It is no longer necessary to fill out several forms for changing the address and registering a new counter reader. The trust of the customers in the reliability of the chatbot can be strengthened by sending a confirmation e-mail to the customers after the data has been transmitted. 

3. Change your monthly payment with a chatbot 

In order to avoid high back payments at the end of the year, customers can use the chatbot to change the amount of the monthly payment and adapt it to their individual consumption. The procedure is similar to the two use cases described above.

4. Manage contracts and invoices 

The bot helps customers to keep an overview of their contracts and contract data and facilitates data management. For example, they can request invoices via the chatbot, which are then made available in the chat as PDF files for download. In addition, he can assist customers, who are moving, to transfer the contract of the old apartment to the new apartment.

5 Changing the SEPA mandate via chatbots 

Another frequent case in customer service is the change of the SEPA mandate. Since in this case, as in others, sensitive data is transmitted via the chatbot, it is important to obtain advice from the legal department regarding data protection when designing the virtual assistant.

6. Customer advice on tariffs via chatbots 

Would you like to offer individual consultation for each of your customers? A chatbot can put together the right offer for the users. It works as a filter and can respond to specific wishes and ideas. 

7. Virtual assistants as interactive FAQs

Last but not least, there are also many general questions that are on the customer's heart. For example, where can bills be viewed, where can the contract be cancelled or whether the electricity is generated sustainably. 

Building a knowledge base for virtual assistants

The application possibilities for bots in the energy industry are manifold. When implementing a chatbot project, however, it is advisable to first concentrate on the use cases which are most relevant to the customers. For this purpose, the customer service protocols can be analyzed and the most frequently asked questions can be identified. Based on this, a knowledge base for the chatbot can be started and continuously expanded after the launch of the chatbot.

With the help of a well-designed bot, customer service processes can be optimized and customer satisfaction can be increased. However, the development of a chatbot concept is complex and demanding, as many aspects have to be considered. To make this easier, we have developed a Chatbot Canvas that guides you step by step through the process. 

Chatbot Canvas