Avertra: Smarter Utilities. Delighted Customers.

Melanie Case, Director of Delivery, Milind Nazare, VP, Operations & Delivery, Jean-Pierre Bseirani, MiUtility Engineer, Matt Daniels, Director of Products Customer service is not a department, it’s everyone’s job.” If this adage has a face and a mailing address, it would be that of Avertra and its employees. Inside Avertra, the multinational utility tech company, the name of the game is “customer delightfulness.” Avertra’s Director of Delivery, Melanie Case says that customer service, in general, has varying levels of satisfaction, where the end-users are either completely happy or there is a semi-satisfied acceptance to live with what they have. “For us, within our team and all our products, the goal is to increase the productivity level of our clients and help them in taking their customers from being just satisfied to completely excited,” she asserts. Avertra is the high-octane effort of a team of utility experts with prolific industry know-how—both customer relationship management and field experience. “When we started, we wanted to develop products that are innovative and intuitive,” Melanie states. “Today, we have taken the guesswork out of complex or confusing business processes, by creating step-by-step wizards that guide our utility customers in helping their consumers.”

The frequently raised concerns of utility service providers, from a customer service perspective— among many others—are hikes in call duration; complexity of expensive, general-use applications; and above all, a disjointed workflow. “Avertra’s products deliver cutting-edge and forward looking process innovation that is optimized specifically for the utility industry. MiAgent’s intuitive application design, workflow builder, and built-in third party integration simplifies complex procedures and keeps customer service agents in a single wizard or pop-up for process execution. This gives a highly-skilled agent a frictionless tool to achieve higher levels of peak performance. At the same time, the Customer and Location Dashboards that have quick action capability will help make agents become more efficient and accurate call-handlers, regardless of their skill level,” notes Matt Daniels, Director of Products at Avertra. “We want agents to be able to focus on delighting the caller and not on where to click or what to calculate.”

The Time for Digital Transformation

Customers often start with lower levels of initial investment and build a foundational integration platform. Avertra provides flexible and pragmatic methods for utilities to take the first step and then branch out to larger scales of digital transformation. “We recognize that the enterprise landscape of each utility is different. We provide strategies and a flexible integration platform that works with the landscape you have today. We support utilities that are considering a digital transformation and help them understand what is possible and how far they can go. Our transparency and our un-ending desire to reach the best solution, which does not necessarily have to be an Avertra product, help us remain a trusted advisor to utility companies that are looking to adopt innovative technologies,” points out Daniels.

Avertra begins its approach by recognizing the existing technology that utility companies have and works with them to expand their stack.
For utility companies that already have a contact center, Avertra’s cloud-based call center application, MiAgent, can be implemented and made to run in parallel with an existing CRM system. Avertra’s utility customers have the option of buying individual modules or the entire product suite. Centered on integration, MiAgent is built on a platform-agnostic technology stack to avoid vendor lock-in and enable handshakes between systems of record and modules available in the MiUtility Platform. An integral aspect of MiAgent is its call center automation functionality that enables efficient means of working through complex processes using an intuitive interface. This allows the agent to focus on engaging the customer, instead of struggling through call scripts and a myriad of screens, systems, and data.

Increased Productivity for Enhanced Customer Service

Focusing primarily on automating business logic to make the contact center smarter, MiAgent runs intelligent workflows that support instant caller identification and customer account verification. When an agent takes the call, his screen is populated with complete information about the caller/customer, including location, bill payment, and consumption details. With smaller learning curves, customer service agents can serve more consumers while ensuring better levels of customer satisfaction. “When we demonstrate the capabilities of the product to our clients, we’re constantly met with comments such as ‘the time your products save us is immense’ and ‘this is going to make our job easier,’” evinces Melanie. The positive feedback Avertra often receives from utility key stakeholders is the litmus test that gauges the performance of their product for every implementation they undertake.

In the utilities industry, everyone—from the common man to large-scale enterprises—is a consumer. For a business to thrive in the vast marketplace amid competition, the responsibility rests purely on the shoulders of a robust CRM that translates into a more ‘delightful experience’ for the buyer. “We’re all consumers here and the question we ask ourselves is ‘how can I make the experience I just had more delightful for both me and the service provider?’” says Jean-Pierre Bseirani. In addition to his role as MiUtility Engineer, Bseirani dons the hat of yet another innominate designation in the company. “You can say, I’m the ‘customer delightfulness’ expert,” he chuckles. Avertra’s product tree is the sum total of concerns voiced by utility clients as well as its own employees. To that end, regular brainstorming sessions are a common sight at Avertra, where every rational thought is fully explored, and those that pass scrutiny and provide sufficient business value, are added to the Product Line Roadmap.

MiUtility: The Bigger Picture

Avertra’s products are designed to cover all aspects of customer engagement through multifarious means. With well-defined microservices, utilities can have easy interconnectivity between Avertra modules such as MiIVR, MiRead, and MiFieldServices, and various third-party applications. For instance, MiRead with features like GPS-enabled routing and geo-tagging takes meter-reading to a whole new level of efficiency. When tied together with the MiUtility Platform, MiRead provides meter readers with real-time routing information that allows them to complete their normal meter read cycle faster.


Avertra’s products deliver cutting-edge and forward looking process innovation that is optimized specifically for the utility industry


Along with the MiFieldServices module—Avertra’s workforce management portal—a utility can gain total visibility into a field technician’s workday. The tool allows automatic work order scheduling, sequencing, and routing according to workload, technician availability, and other geographical factors.

Through every single utility project, Avertra is adding a feather to its hat of ‘customer delightfulness.’ The company also takes in custom requests that clients put forward at any phase of the utility value chain. “A few years back, one of our utility clients was undergoing a service expansion initiative,” illustrates Bseirani. “They wanted an application to help capture the information of potential customers who want service extended to their home or area.” Avertra implemented the MiLine application for that utility company. This application satisfied their initial requirements and went above and beyond by enabling the utility to have the capability to automate the creation of these new customers in their backend system. Additionally, MiLine could be used to automate the entire new construction process—from the moment a builder submits an intent for construction of a new property, or even an entire development, all the way to the service becoming operational at that location.

Smarter Homes, Smarter Energy

Avertra has efficaciously aligned the course of its game plan to accept the latest technologies in the utilities landscape, well in advance. In 2015, at a utility convention held in Arizona, Avertra’s demonstration of an incident response program displayed its prowess in IoT, the secret ingredient that goes behind making a utility provider smarter. In what was a staged depiction of a gas leak at a consumer’s residence, Avertra’s future IoT-powered, home management system, with its triggers and event-handling algorithms, was able to send text messages to alert the nearby field technicians, the fire-department, and the consumer. “Our IoT lab in Amman, Jordan is knee-deep in research and development to implement a slew of integration points in and throughout our entire product line stack,” informs Milind Nazare, VP, Operations and Delivery, Avertra. To that end, the company has joined hands with technology giants in the likeness of Microsoft, Google, SAP, and is in talks with Tesla. The potential here for Avertra is huge in reshaping the future of utility customer engagement and management.

This spring, Avertra’s CEO, Bashir Bseirani is all set to take the center stage at the Energy Thought Summit 2017, bearing the flag of his company and its contribution toward transforming the energy and utility industry. The company has exciting undertakings in its roadmap in terms of educating utilities and consumers on building smarter IoT-powered homes, rather than just connected homes. With increasing levels of process automation to fuel this journey, Avertra’s to-do list is chock-full of plans to utilize machine learning and artificial intelligence to create advanced situational awareness in product line features. The company is striding toward its vision of ensuring its customers have the best possible products, and given the team’s strategies and prowess, Avertra will be a game-changer in the utilities space.

Company
Avertra

Headquarters
Herndon, VA

Management
Melanie Case, Director of Delivery, Milind Nazare, VP, Operations & Delivery, Jean-Pierre Bseirani, MiUtility Engineer, Matt Daniels, Director of Products

Description
Develops an innovative and intuitive Customer Delightfulness Application Suite for the utility sector

Avertra