CS Week 2018 Recap

Posted by Bethany Frank on 15 May 2018

Alacriti was proud to present and exhibit at CS Week 2018, held April 30 – May 4 in Tampa, Florida. CS Week is the premier annual educational and customer service conference serving electric, gas, and water utility professionals across North America. The conference celebrates excellence in customer service and provides learning and networking opportunities in support of the utility customer experience lifecycle.

This year’s conference was packed with utility, government, finance, and technology professionals eager to share their customer service strategies. Alacriti was honored to take the stage with City of Evanston CIO Luke Stowe to discuss how utility companies can enhance service and better engage customers in a digitally connected world. We had a full house for our breakout session, “Leveraging AI for Bill Payments.”

Luke opened the session with an in-depth look at recent trends shaping consumer behavior. From Facebook Messenger to Amazon Alexa, Luke discussed the impact of these platforms on consumers and how businesses are leveraging them to reach their customers in new, innovative ways. Smartphone and smart device ownership, as well as the growth of the global chatbot market, are some of the trends poised to make the biggest impact on the utility space. Luke shared some social media tactics employed by the City of Evanston, as well as practical steps utility companies can take to deliver the kinds of bill payment experiences their customers now expect. Here are some highlights:

  • Consumers are warming up to AI and chatbot technology
  • The nature of commerce and engagement is changing – consumers are moving away from traditional websites and toward mobile and other digital options, like smart devices
  • Don’t shy away from using new channels like social media to engage customers
  • Despite how your customers might feel about new technology today, don’t ignore the customers of tomorrow

Max Bisschop, Sales and Strategic Partnerships Executive at Alacriti, also joined the conversation. Building on the examples shared by Luke, like booking an Uber through Facebook Messenger, Max walked the audience through specific scenarios in which an AI chatbot can help utility companies deliver better customer service. For example, a customer might want to know when their bill is due, or how to keep their water pipes from freezing in sub-zero temperatures. Rather than tying up customer service agents for these kinds of simple requests, customers can simply “talk” to a chatbot for immediate and effective assistance.  

Customers now expect a bill payment experience that’s always on, in real-time, conversational, and personalized. They also want quick answers to questions and for their issues to be resolved as quickly as possible. Max and Luke had a great time sharing their perspectives on the potential of AI and what it can do for the utility space. Thank you to everyone who attended our session and joined the conversation at CS Week. We look forward to seeing you again next year!

Check out all the presentations from CS Week 2018 here!

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Bethany Frank Senior Marketing Associate Bethany specializes in content and events as part of Alacriti's marketing team. She's a graduate of Rutgers University and has a background in writing, broadcasting, and digital media. Fascinated by the intersection of technology and human nature, Bethany is out to explore what drives consumers in such a fast-paced, digitally connected world.

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