Vaasan Sähkö utilizes automation to improve their customer communication


Vaasan Sähkö Group operates in electricity sale, distribution, and district heating. Vaasan Sähköverkko, a subsidiary of the group, has been utilizing automation to develop customer communication since 2019. Through automation, Vaasan Sähköverkko is able to communicate the progress of customer orders at each stage of the project, which would not be possible done manually.

The collaboration between Vaasan Sähkö Group and Sisua Digital began in 2018 when Sisua organized a robotics workshop for the group. In the workshop, the most critical and labor-intensive processes were prioritized.

"The automation project started as a joint project in the electricity group and the mass customer communication of Vaasan Sähköverkko's construction services was selected as the automation target," says Kenth Joki, team leader of Construction Services, from Vaasan Sähköverkko Oy.

This customer communication process involves large volumes: in 2022, the robot sent approximately 4,800 messages to customers, averaging about 13 messages per day.

"The automation starts running when we start processing the customer's order and create a task related to the order in the work management system. The automation includes all tasks related to the electricity connections: both new orders and customer-requested changes," Joki explains.

The automation operates within the work management system, where network constructions and connections are ordered from regional contractors. When a task is created in the system and ordered from a contractor, the robot receives notifications about all the related changes and sends messages to the customer. The robot copies the relevant information from the system and includes it in the outgoing message to the customer.

Automation enables fast information delivery to customers, which improves customer satisfaction

Before the automation was implemented, Vaasan Sähköverkko received a lot of customer inquiries regarding the progress of the orders. Implementing the robot has reduced the need for customer contacts, as they receive real-time information within 30 minutes when the order has progressed. If this was done manually, the communication would not be possible on this scale due to the high volume, and the progress updates could not be communicated as quickly. Therefore, automation enables faster and more efficient information delivery to customers.

"The automation has improved customer communication and service. It is extremely valuable that the robot informs the customer about changes and the progress of the order so that the customer stays informed about the project's advancement and knows what needs to be done at different stages of the connection process," Joki describes.

As customer inquiries related to the orders have decreased, more working hours are released for other tasks. If there has been an error in the contractor’s system, preventing the robot from functioning, it has resulted in an immediate increase in customer inquiries.

"We have noticed how crucial the robot's operation is and how valuable it is for customers to receive proactive communication. It helps a lot when the customer is aware of the progress of their order. Without the robot, we would struggle because manual handling would not be possible," explains Joki.

"Automation has clearly improved customer satisfaction. In feedback surveys, our customers praise that we have good communication," adds Joki.

Using the robot in communication has also provided to be a flexible solution: the automation can be easily adjusted to changing communication needs.

"The process has evolved over the years. Connecting to the electricity network requires considerable effort from the customer, and practices have changed over time. Integrating new practices into the robot's communication has been relatively easy, and the robot has allowed us to quickly convey new practices to customers," Joki clarifies.

The collaboration has been smooth, and the company wants to keep using automation to enhance customer communication

The cooperation that started in 2018 has been successful. Over the years, Sisua Digital has also implemented other automations for the Vaasan Sähkö group.

"Working with Sisua has generally been easy and flexible," describes Joki.

In addition to the automations, Sisua has organized Citizen Development training for the group.

"Sisua provided on-site training for all interested parties on using the automation system. Through the training, we understood what developing a robot entails and what it requires," Joki explains.

The company plans to continue leveraging automation in developing customer communication.

"We have a strong desire this year to further automate customer communication. We are also planning to switch our system in the near future, which will bring changes to the customer communication, and the systems need to be integrated," says Joki.

"We also plan to continue digitalizing communication for other processes. For example, connecting self-produced electricity to the grid has multiplied each year, resulting in increased customer inquiries and a greater need for customer communication. Increasing self-produced electricity is a complex process that requires significant effort from the customer. Active and detailed communication is needed in this process, and it needs to be automated," Joki adds.

Author: Paiju Koivula

What was achieved

Automation benefits


About the company

Vaasan Sähkö

Vaasan Sähkö Group specializes in electricity sales, district heating, and electricity distribution. The group’s revenue in 2022 was approximately 330 million euros, with a workforce of 135. Vaasan Sähkö has twice been awarded as having the most satisfied customers in Finland in electricity sales and retail. Vaasan Sähköverkko, a subsidiary, designs, constructs, and maintains electricity connections for its customers. Vaasan Sähköverkko employs around 32 professionals, and its revenue in 2022 was approximately 36 million euros.

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