Digitalization is one of the main paths Neoenergia has followed, contributing to the acceleration of the digital transformation in the electric sector, with new means of payment and better customer experiences. Thus, it has expanded its digital service channels to further reach its base of more than 15.6 million consumers, among the distributors Neoenergia Coelba (BA), Neoenergia Pernambuco (PE), Neoenergia Cosern (RN), Neoenergia Elektro (SP/MS) and Neoenergia Brasília (DF). With 11 million calls registered in the virtual assistant and R$23.6 million in debts negotiated via chatbot, Neoenergia has established itself as one of the pioneers in offering services and facilities that guarantee new parameters in the Brazilian electricity scenario.
"Neoenergia acts in order to achieve significant technological evolution. Thus, it is always in search of what is new and what provides an improvement to the customer experience, following with the practice of pioneering and strong investment," says the corporate superintendent of Customer Relationship, Sebastião Elias. He states that the digitalization movement was accelerated during the Covid-19 pandemic in order to offer greater security to consumers. This scenario was accompanied by the performance of several surveys with customers to understand their expectations and how to meet their needs. This allowed us to see the importance of creating products and solutions that meet the real needs of everyday life, with a focus on simplifying processes and improving communication.
Among the initiatives that meet customer demand is the inclusion of new features to the virtual assistant on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The chatbot technology, which uses artificial intelligence to interact automatically with customers, makes it possible to request more than 70 services in a practical and accessible way, such as the duplicate of the invoice and notice of a power outage.
Since May 2021, the chatbot of the concessionaires Neoenergia Coelba, Neoenergia Pernambuco, Neoenergia Cosern and Neoenergia Elektro counts with the innovation of consulting and negotiating debts, which allows customers to use the virtual assistant to check the existence of pending debts with the distributor and negotiate the way that best suits their reality. In the first five months of operation alone, 46,276 negotiations were carried out and a total of R$23.6 million in debts negotiated via chatbot, being the most used channel by customers for this type of service.
Improving and expanding customer experiences in the chatbot via WhatsApp and Facebook is one of the main fronts of Neoenergia's strategy to make life easier for customers, ensuring a positive, fast and self-service experience. Recently, the Neoenergia group implemented another novelty, with the reconnection request service. With this, the customer has the possibility to use the functionalities in an integrated way, such as checking their pending bills, negotiating and finally requesting the reconnection, without leaving WhatsApp.
"The service of the future is related to a simple, complete and continuous service journey. The focus is on interaction with customers through integrated service channels, taking advantage of the simplicity and ease of digital technologies, with a specialized and personalized service," says Renato Suplicy, Neoenergia's Strategy and Digital Services manager.
The consultation and negotiation of debts service is also available in the distributors' websites with the same facilities of payment by credit card in up to 24 installments and payment in installments in the payment slip, besides the Caixa Elo Virtual Card. Neoenergia was the first company in the electric sector to offer the credit card as a means of payment, in December 2017, in addition to being a pioneer in making it possible to pay the energy bill through the use of the Caixa Elo virtual card (Emergency Aid), in May 2020, just three days after the Federal Government started making payments.
One of the great pioneering highlights of Neoenergia was through PIX (instantaneous means of payment and money transfer) made available as a payment method for digital bills on the same day that the service officially started operating in the country, on November 16. Another innovation is the digital invoice service, which can be sent to the customer by email, WhatsApp, or SMS, in order to replace the printed invoice, offering more convenience to the customer. The company was a pioneer in the electric sector when it launched the digital invoice registration and delivery service via WhatsApp ,in October 2020. Since then, the company has carried out actions to encourage consumers to register for the digital invoice, such as the second edition of the Energy to Start Over promotion, which will raffle up to R$40 thousand in prizes from October 2021 to March 2022 for those who have paid their bills on time.
The most recent launch incorporated by Neoenergia is the settlement of the energy bill through recurring credit card payment, once again being the first company in the electric sector to offer this innovation. The novelty, similar to what is already used by telephone companies and streaming services, allows the customer's main bills to be concentrated on the credit card invoice. With this, every month the energy bill automatically enters the credit card and is debited when the card authorizes the transaction each month, with no interest added.
One of the facilitators to accelerate this process of digitalization and innovation in the company is the Digital Connection, considered the most important Brazilian Research and Development (R&D) project focused on the electrical sector's customer. Officially launched on March 6, 2020, the project is based on three pillars: modernization of the customer journey, integrated development of digital solutions, and digital inclusion. The initiative foresees the offer of 115 products that will be used interactively with constant releases over 42 months.