During monsoon in India, power cut becomes a normal routine specially when there is moderately heavy rain. I have heard that electricity supply is stopped as there might be problems of water logging, tree felling etc. which may endanger human file.
During this time, when electricity supply was stopped, but was not restored long after rain had stopped, I had to call our local electricity distribution company and found the number busy. I tried many times but all the time I got busy tone.
Later, I found out after asking around my friends, they simply remove the telephone reciever from the handset to keep the phone busy! I am not sure if that is true or not, but if they resort to such practice in order to avoid telephonic calls from irate customers, they should better use IVR ( Interactive Voice Response) System!
I am not sure why electricity distribution companies have not started using IVR. It will be very useful for them for the following:-
Electricity distribution company can have inbound IVR where callers can call up their number and get many useful information without any manual intervention.
1. Inquire about meter reading
Customer can call up and find last recorded electric meter reading.
2. Billing information
People can just dial and check their current outstanding bill, last date for payng bill, request for duplicate bill etc.
3. Information on outage
Current information can be fed to IVR system which will tell caller about current ‘load shedding’ or outage and when it is likely to be restored. This will give give of mind to all.
4. Complaint Booking
Inbound IVR can also be used for any complaint booking by users.
1. Outbound call for next outage
Outbound calls can be made to subscribers informing next scheduled power outage for some reasons like scheduled maintenance. This will help users plan for alternative and schedule their tasks accordingly.
2. Automatic Payment reminder after due date
There should be automatic payment reminder once due date for bill payment is passed. This will help inconvenience to users and help collect payments for electricity distribution company.
IVR has many uses for utility company like electricity distribution companies. I hope, they will start using IVR in India too.