For any enterprise with 85 million customers living on an archipelago of 17,000 islands, customer satisfaction can be a challenge.
In Indonesia, state-owned energy provider PT PLN serves a diverse and demanding range of customers: industries, businesses and commerce, households, dense urban neighborhoods, and remote rural communities. As Indonesia’s cultural and societal shifts increase electricity demand, the number of PLN customers increases—as does the risk to customer satisfaction if PLN doesn’t meet their needs, whether due to a power outage or an unsatisfactory experience using the brand’s mobile app.
When PLN released its previous mobile app four years ago, customers posted negative feedback to the company and on social media. Only 500,000 users downloaded the app, and 450,000 of them uninstalled it. PLN clearly had work to do.
In 2020, under Darmawan Prasodjo as the CEO, the company began a digitalization initiative to become more robust and agile to improve its customer service, its reputation—and its mobile app.
“Transformation is required to make PLN more agile and more robust in order to provide excellent customer service,” Darmawan said.
A Better Mobile App
The previous PLN mobile app’s issues included a lack of visibility and transparency, and it provided no real-time outage alerts—it was developed only as software. For its new mobile app, PLN built a back-end dashboard called Virtual Command Centre (VCC), which lets anyone from management all the way to the C-suite and the board of directors evaluate the status of all customer service processes in real-time.
The VCC indicates which service is in the queue, in progress, or is passing through the service level agreement (SLA), using green, yellow, and red alerts to indicate any services that require immediate action.
Branch offices can now respond in real time, escalating yellow alerts directly to middle-level management at PLN’s headquarters and red alerts straight to the Board of Directors. PLN also formed a Customer Experience Division to ensure a convenient PLN Mobile customer journey, and to monitor customer ratings and complaints daily in VCC to provide the most efficient, engaging, and satisfactory experience.
Using new customer analytics tools, PLN can better identify patterns and insights in behaviors, preferences, and demographics that can help it improve experiences, increase loyalty, and drive growth. PLN has applied these insights to add two features to PLN Mobile: real-time location tracking of any outages or complaints, and a live chat function that will soon introduce AI-powered virtual assistance to keep up with the app’s rapidly growing number of users, who now prefer the app’s live chat to call-center services.
The new app also lets customers use multiple payment methods to select service options such as installations and power-capacity additions that previously required cash-only transactions and in-person visits to PLN branch offices.
Six Data-Driven Improvements
On the basis of the quality and security of data collected throughout the development of its new app, PLN has increased customer satisfaction. Compared with the 500,000 customers who downloaded the previous mobile app, 39 million have downloaded the new app in its first two years. Customer ratings have nearly doubled, from 2.5 out of 5 for the previous version to 4.9 today: one of the highest-ranked public service applications in the Google Play Store and Apple AppStore in Asia.
PLN’s customer data showed six opportunities for improvement with a new app.
- For customers, one of the most important features of PLN’s new mobile app is real-time notifications of power outages. The app can provide more accurate information about when, where, and how long an outage will take place, so it can inform customers with advance notifications about any service disruptions the maintenance schedule may cause, surprising fewer customers with sudden outages.
- A second issue was synchronization between PLN field technicians and customers with complaints. The previous complaints process was error-prone and inefficient: PLN forwarded customer complaints manually to its field technicians, who did not always notify their customers after resolving their complaints. Using the new app, customers can submit and track their complaints, which go directly to the office nearest the customer’s location. Customers get real-time updates about their field technicians’ estimated arrival time, and their performance is measured and monitored both by customers and management. PLN can now typically resolve a complaint within one workday.
- PLN can respond faster to customer inquiries with the new app. Previously, the company used a fragmented, complex network of several applications and databases to provide customer services, which required the IT Division’s manual integration and communication. But the company’s digital customer-service transformation to its new app has simplified this inquiries system by integrating customers’ mobile devices with PLN’s VCC dashboard and technical optimization service.
- The new app permits direct payment for billing for postpaid services, token purchases for prepaid services, and other customer transactions.
- The previous PLN mobile app had a limited range of features, including filing complaints, installing additional power capacity, and using token purchases for prepaid subscriptions. The new app offers customers a range of additional uses: applying for installations, recording meters, establishing temporary connections, repairing electrical installations at home, and installing internet services.
- The new app offers innovative new features as well. The app integrates with Electric Vehicle Digital Services (EVDS), the first electric vehicle (EV) service platform, which users can employ to find charging stations, carry out power transactions, track power consumption, and even test-drive EVs. The app also has an energy marketplace, supporting more than 1,840 micro-, small, and medium enterprises to conduct 43,000 transactions by January 2023.
A Reputation Transformed
Just three years ago, PLN faced numerous customer challenges: inefficient service, unreliable communication, manual processes—and a mobile app that exemplified all these issues.
PLN’s digitalization initiative to improve its customers’ mobile experience called for fast-paced response, convenience, and efficiency.
It’s no exaggeration to say the relaunched mobile app has saved PLN’s customer reputation. In an era when customers expect the most out of mobile, organizations that see their apps fall short of expectations may be ready for a data-driven mobile transformation.
Find out more about PLN Mobile.
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