Energy utilities have long lagged behind other industries adopting strategies to deliver excellence in customer experience (CX), but pioneers have driven a digital transformation in recent years and now the rest of the market is finally catching on.
Technology is driving the energy industry from a traditional call centre approach to a mobile app and digitally driven customer-facing environment. But for most consumers, their experience with an energy provider remains some way from the dynamic, seamless, top-quality utopia which all companies say they are now striving to deliver.
Still lagging but CX is now vital
And the stats simply back this perception up. Ofgem data continues to point to millions of customers switching supplier solely because they have become so dissatisfied with their current one. Less than 10 per cent of consumers can remember receiving any sort of welcome when they joined a new provider, such is the malaise with which firms have shrugged at the constant churn of customers.
From a consumer perspective, price and experience are the only differentials between competing energy suppliers. This alone means an effective CX strategy is absolutely critical to success.
The changing face of UK energy provision
The transition has been a slow one but the UK’s energy companies have been going through a prolonged process of transforming from regulated commodity suppliers to providers of energy solutions.
Competitors on the fringe of the market have leapt into the CX void to offer platform-based solutions for today’s customer, one who demands ever-increasing ways of engaging with their energy accounts.
Industry observers expect there to be a handful of significant new entrants to the energy market during 2019, so this should further drive on the top six to take it all seriously.
But these newbies won’t be the classic utility company of yore. Instead they will be ‘virtual’ providers firmly fixed on delivering slick platforms to delight today’s tech-savvy consumers. Blockchain is one such technology which will enable the energy market to seamlessly soothe pain points which have dogged consumers of gas and electricity for decades.
It may not arrive with a big bang just yet, but 2019 should see the embedding of CX strategies and those that make the greatest gains will be the ones that deliver a transparent product with clarity of communication.