The idea of a smart meter is a great one; it allows consumers to accurately monitor their energy consumption and the cost in real-time, and automatically keeps providers up-to-date. It means that energy providers can work more efficiently by analysing consumer usage data to forecast and predict demand, helping to streamline services and improve the customer experience by advising them on ways to use energy more efficiently. Utility providers can also save time, fuel and money without a need to chase customers to read their own meters or to send out staff to take manual readings.
Installing a smart meter in a home is not a simple process. The right engineer with the right skills (in most countries engineers must be certified to install gas and electricity smart meters), has to visit the customer’s home at an agreed time, connect the smart metering device to the electricity and/or gas meter and set up on-going communication between the smart meter and the utility provider.
Various challenges come from both the size and the complexity of a smart meter roll out project but one of the biggest challenges is keeping track of the progress of jobs and the location of each engineer so that customers can be kept informed of when their technician is due to arrive. Customers who are used to “instant” notifications, for example, when parcels will be delivered or when their Uber taxi will arrive, find this very frustrating. No one likes to wait for an engineer to show up, particularly when they don’t know where they are or when they’re coming.
Keeping customers informed will help the service to be delivered more efficiently, cut the risk of canceled appointments (for which a penalty fee may be payable to the consumer) and improve customer satisfaction because consumers know who will be turning up and exactly when they need to be home. It also means, should an engineer be running late or might potentially miss a booking, that another appointment can be made or the customer can be told how long the delay will be.
Watch this short video to see what a great smart meter customer experience could be like.