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Added power from digital technology
MONITORING energy use has never been easier for Singaporeans with an app that helps them track their utilities consumption, make transactions on the go and get timely reminders on bill payment. The mobile app from SP Utilities also allows customers to compare their usage to that of their neighbours.
It even has a "live" chat function for customers to have their queries addressed promptly. The SP Utilities mobile app is centred on customers' growing needs and changing lifestyle. More features will be progressively added to the system for the benefit of customers.
Meanwhile, SP's customer service centres have also been enhanced with features such as the SP Kiosk, which allows customers to open, close and manage their utilities account.
These are just some of the digital solutions the SP Services has developed as it transforms itself to serve its customers more effectively. The organisation serves close to 1.5 million customers in Singapore, read about 3.8 million electricity, gas and water meters bi-monthly and process about S$6 billion in utility payments annually. "We aim to deliver a seamless, unified experience to our customers, anytime, anywhere," said Chuah Kee Heng, managing director of SP Services.
This transformation is driven by in-house experts who will develop digital solutions to bring greater convenience to customers, help them save energy and cost, and enjoy a high quality, sustainable lifestyle.
SP Services staff is also empowered with digital technology to improve the customer experience. All employees are given tablets to receive and carry out assignments on the go. Not only does this allow meter readers and customer service agents to be able to serve customers after hours from home, it also improves efficiency and productivity.
"Our people are continuously learning and sharpening their skills to uphold reliable and efficient service standards. They must be nimble amidst change and have an innovative mindset to stay ahead of trends and customer needs, and evolve accordingly," said Mr Chuah.
Added Ho Yin Shan, SP Service's head, operations: "It improves productivity and helps us to do more with less. Whether it's meter readers or call agents who can serve customer after hours from home, this is all part of our commitment to provide smooth and seamless service to all our customers."
SP Services aims to deliver a "One Call, One Click, One Stop, in One Day" promise to customers. This could mean, among other things, providing supply turn-on services by the next business day.
To this end, SP Services launched a pioneer initiative that brings utilities services application and immediate turn-on of utilities supply on-site for residents at new condominium developments. It also will provide partners, such as Public Utilities Board (PUB), National Environment Agency (NEA) and City Gas, with one-stop utilities billing, and supply activation, transfer and deactivation for electricity, gas, water and refuse removal services.
"Our partners, like PUB, NEA and City Gas, also benefit from the innovative billing and data solutions that we've developed, as part of the one-stop utilities billing service we provide," said Ms Ho.
Going forward, SP Services is rolling out the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) or SMART meters across Singapore in preparation for the opening up of the electricity retail market to competition.
Starting April 2018, households and businesses in Jurong can choose to buy electricity from a retailer with a price plan that best meets their needs. A total of 108,000 residential consumer accounts and 9,500 business consumer accounts will have the option of buying electricity from a retailer of their choice, or continue buying electricity from SP Group at the regulated tariff.
In the second half of 2018, the remaining 1.3 million accounts, mainly households, will also enjoy more choices and flexibility in their electricity purchases.
The SMART meters allow SP Services to read meters remotely with up to 99.5 per cent reliability to provide near real-time data to customers, helping them make informed decisions about utilities consumption and billing.
ROADMAP TO SERVICE EXCELLENCE
Guiding SP Services in their transformation is the Business Excellence (BE) framework. The organisation was one of five companies that won the Singapore Quality Award this year.
"The Business Excellence framework is tailored to help us fulfil our service ethos and helps us drive innovation to deliver a high quality, sustainable lifestyle to all our customers. It provides a roadmap towards service excellence and enables us to continue learning and sharpening skills to uphold reliable and efficient service standards," said Mr Chuah.
However, there were challenges to implementing the BE roadmap, he added. "We had to align processes but once we identified our key value proposition - to bring greater convenience to help customers save energy and cost, and improve quality of life - we worked together to develop innovative solutions and deliver greater value to customers."
SP Services' BE journey has helped encourage its staff to be nimble amid a changing environment and adopt an innovative mindset to stay ahead of trends and customer needs.
Said Mr Chuah: "In the digital age, with disruption all around us, we need to better anticipate customer needs."