Tell me if you\u2019ve heard this story before.\n\nWhile visiting my daughter in college, I spent an hour on hold with her utility company trying to help with a billing issue that she thought had already been resolved. When the call was finally answered \u201cin the order it was received\u201d I had to explain the problem from scratch to a representative (let\u2019s call her Sheila) who was totally new to this case. Sheila tried to be helpful, but she couldn\u2019t access the relevant records and, after 20 minutes that felt like hours, she had to give up and transfer me to a different department. I was so exasperated I wanted to throw my brand-new flip phone across the room (but instead hurled a few expletives.) \u201cLanguage, Dad,\u201d I heard my daughter say.\n\nIt wasn\u2019t Sheila\u2019s fault \u2013 she was doing her job as best she could. The problem was that she didn\u2019t have the resources she needed to do her job well. Despite my frustration, I felt sorry for her. When she asked, clearly reading from a script, if there was \u201canything else I can help you with today,\u201d we both just had to laugh.\n\nThis scenario plays out thousands of times every day. I\u2019m sure you\u2019ve been there too. But as much annoyance as it causes for customers, it can be positively disastrous for service providers.\n\nThe high cost of bad service\n\nBad CX (short for \u201ccustomer experience\u201d) makes a strong \u2013 and long-lasting \u2013 impression. Market research indicates that it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for a single negative interaction. Sixty percent of customers are willing to pay more for superior experience. Twenty-eight percent of consumers spend less with a company after receiving poor service or take their business to a competitor. As Warren Buffet stated: \u201cIt takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it.\u201d\n\nWhile bad CX costs businesses thousands of customers and billions of dollars every year, companies that optimize CX increase customer satisfaction, reduce customer churn, improve employee satisfaction, and boost revenues. This is especially important for utilities, which among all sectors rank second from the bottom in CX and dead last in reputation. Dead. Last.\n\nSouthern California Edison\u2019s case\n\nSouthern California Edison (SCE) \u2013 which provides electricity to 15 million people across Southern California \u2013 relied on a complex customer management infrastructure that had accumulated over three decades. One survey counted over 160 legacy applications handling different parts of the business. Many couldn\u2019t even interact with each other.\n\nIt was a massive battle against complexity that SCE was losing.\n\nSCE recognized that this was, to say the least, causing problems. Customer systems represented 15% of SCE\u2019s data applications but accounted for 50% of system issues and maintenance costs. In 2017, they launched an initiative to replace 70% of their existing systems with a single, unified application \u2013 SAP Customer Relations & Billing, which runs on SAP S\/4HANA.\n\nThat initiative \u2013 called the Customer Service Re-Platform, or CSRP for short \u2013 is ambitious.\n\nCSRP would require the remediation of 48 distinct solutions and involve more than 1,200 stakeholders and 9,000 test cases, ultimately migrating more than 8 BILLION data records to the new system \u2013 all while continuing to provide reliable service to their millions of customers. Oh \u2013 and they had to accomplish this in the middle of a global pandemic as demand surged with people stuck at home on lockdown.\n\nOne solution integrator likened implementation to changing out the engine of an airplane mid-flight at 30,000 feet.\n\nPositive outcomes\n\nApparently, that\u2019s a thing you can actually do \u2013 because three years later, the airplane is flying like a dream. SCE has replaced their tangle of outdated solutions with an agile, reliable, standardized network of systems that provide vastly improved service with much lower maintenance costs.\n\nSCE\u2019s new cloud-based system matches or exceeds every benchmark established by key stakeholder groups. Customer wait times average less than 3 minutes and billing corrections are completed much faster.\n\nWith the new system, billing accuracy now exceeds 99%. Customer payments are now posted in real-time and call center operators now have a holistic view of customer profiles.\n\nSCE\u2019s innovative solutions earned them a finalist\u2019s spot at the prestigious 2022 SAP Innovation Awards. For details on what they did and how they did it, check out their Innovation Awards pitch deck.