January 29, 2016

Energy companies can stand out through customer experience management

Annastiina Larronmaa

Delivery Executive for Energy Utilities, Tieto

Why is customer experience management (CEM) increasingly important in the energy sector, and how can energy companies address this need? Annastiina Larronmaa, Delivery Executive for Tieto Energy and Utilities, answers these questions and offers insights about customer experience management for energy companies.

Why is focusing on customer experience management crucial for energy companies today?

Ever since the differentiation of grid companies from energy retailers, the competition for customers has been intense in the Nordic energy market. The energy customer base consists increasingly of digital natives—the most demanding and digitally connected generation of consumers.

These consumers want energy companies that can give them the best experience—which means modern online services, connectivity across all channels and excellent customer service throughout their customer journey.

The role of customer experience management (CEM) in the energy sector will expand as energy providers compete. Those companies that actively focus on developing innovative and compelling customer journeys will be forerunners in 2020 when all the Nordic countries will be connected with their national data hubs.

How does customer experience management impact the energy sector?

Delivering the best customer experience means being able to offer products and services, even before the customer needs them. In other words, energy companies must develop their sales and marketing channels to cater to the customers proactively. This is not simply a new cost—rather it is an opportunity to gain a competitive edge by finding new ways to serve your clients.

Customer experiences can be improved in many ways: by providing more personalized services (such as real-time billing and smart meter analytics); by making relevant information available at the right times (such as up-to-date information on potential energy interruptions); by developing new and innovative products and services and by simplifying the process of purchasing energy for end customers.Each one of these elements should be handled online and through mobile devices.

Customers expect uniform service irrelevant of the touchpoint. Whether the customer phoned your call center, was introduced to your services at a shopping mall kiosk or reached out to you on social media—the customer experience should be seamless across all channels.

We have already entered the second phase of automated meters enabled by the internet of things. For energy retailers, this is a huge opportunity that enables a variety of different service designs.

What is the role of the IT provider in CEM?

In terms of IT systems, a consistent customer experiences requires a solution that is not adjusted to each of your individual channels, but that is built around the omnichannel customer experience.

It is important to note that all customer service processes are different, which means that your solution should also consider a range of user roles. An omnichannel customer experience must connect the customer with the relevant information and products at the right time, no matter the touchpoint. This must also be considered when deploying a new IT system—new systems must be flexible as well as easy to deploy and learn.

Perhaps the full impact of customer experience management is best illustrated by some recent work with of one of our clients. This particular energy retail customer recently aimed for operational efficiency to better predict their costs and thus be more competitive in the market and improve their overall customer experience. We provided a service solution specifically designed for Nordic retail companies and included support for core business processes such as CRM, sales, digital online services and billing. The service packageis adaptable to current and future Nordic electricity market regulatory requirements, taking into account changes, such as the Nordic process harmonization.  

Learn more here: sites.tieto.com/energy-utilities 

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