This special interest group is where customer care professionals share tactics on how utilities are improving interactions with their customers. 

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Utility Customer Care Goes High-Tech While Remaining High-Touch

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Shea Karssing's picture
Writer Smarter Business

Shea Karssing is a writer for Smarter Business, one of the UK’s leading independent consultancies, helping businesses secure the most comprehensive savings solutions from utilities contract...

  • Member since 2018
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This item is part of the Special Issue - 2019-05 - Customer Care, click here for more

In response to the call for articles around the “Transformation of Utility Customer Care”,  I would like to share my company’s proactive customer contact strategy and other initiatives that have successfully transformed the customer experience:

Proactive customer contact strategy

Having an effective customer contact strategy involves more than just automated emails. As the customer progresses along their journey, they need different touchpoints to help them with any queries and ensure that services are being delivered to their expectations.

Having dedicated account managers contact customers via both email and phone calls maintains open lines of communication throughout the energy procurement process. For example, companies can set triggers for account managers to call customers at different points along the customer journey:

  • Pre-live call - Account managers introduce themselves and ensure a smooth transition to their services. This helps customers feel a sense of security and know who to contact for assistance and queries.
  • Live call - The account manager calls the customer to confirm that their supplied meter reading is correct and that their contract has gone live, and to answer any queries that the customer may have.
  • Post-live call - Once the customer has received their first bill, account managers call to check that everything is running smoothly.
  • Anniversary call - Calling customers every year to wish them a happy anniversary and to gather any feedback on services rendered.

Customer feedback

Sends out regular customer surveys helps companies provide a better service. For example, Smarter Business discovered customers were perceiving their quoting time as too long, so they responded by building a cloud-based, custom-built pricing engine which provides a wide-market pricing comparison and reduced quoting time by 300%.

Efficient case logging

Giving each query or complaint is a case number and assigning it to a dedicated customer services manager means that it’s unlikely that service requests will go unanswered. A custom-built resource planner also ensures a fast turnaround time, and an omnichannel approach means that account managers can be reached via a direct customer services line, email, website, or live chat.

Over and above the dedicated customer services team, having a separate Quality Assurance (QA) department ensures total compliance, as these specialists are upskilled in industry knowledge, DPA, and Ofgem’s code.

Serving the customer of today

Customers of today are more engaged when it comes to energy. They are informed and price-savvy, and they want suppliers that can meet their unique requirements. It’s up to consultants to match these needs by providing an unbiased sale at the best possible price and ensuring that the customer journey is 100% transparent.

Cutting-edge technology

In the modern world, agents and customers should be supported with cutting-edge cloud-based technology, such as:

  • A custom-built pricing engine compares whole-of-market prices and provides instant, unbiased quotes
  • Industry-leading software to monitor the energy market closely and trigger calls to customers when they may be able to lock in a better deal on their gas or electricity.
  • Energy analysis software that sets up cost and consumption reports which analyse usage based on set parameters and provides the opportunity to save costs, budget accordingly and identify hours and days of peak usage.
  • Triggers that alert customers when their energy consumption profile changes, ensuring consistent and optimal energy efficiency and identifying any potential waste.
  • A cloud-based platform for customers to manage their portfolios, procurement and invoicing, giving control back to the customer.
  • Allowing customers to see a breakdown of all commercial energy costs and future contracts on a daily basis, empowering them to take advantage of favourable market conditions.

Using the power of technology - with a personal touch - consultancies of today have the potential to transform customer care in the energy consultancy industry and address the needs of an increasingly engaged customer base.

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