Energy providers in a changing world – where is the need for action?
Digitalisation represents the greatest upheaval since the liberalisation of the energy market. Most consumers now change their energy provider online, with comparison websites providing digital price and performance transparency. But how can energy supply companies (ESCs) exploit this situation as an opportunity, when their resources often involve multi-layer processes and are insufficient to master the challenge autonomously?
When legislators introduced unbundling in 1998, it meant that energy supply companies (ESCs) had to separate their grids and sales. In practical terms, this entailed separation of bookkeeping, information, organisation and other corporate fields. But that's not all. Digitalisation means that the market and customer’s needs have developed further. As well as traditional offers, such as electricity and gas (commodities), other new products have come onto the market. These so-called non-commodities include: Photovoltaics, Battery storage, Smart home automation and E-mobility.
In 2020 the average energy customer will want solar electricity and produce it themselves; they will use alternative sources of power and are prepared to use combined products.
Your customers are more than just a meter number
In the battle against sinking customer numbers and margins, energy supply companies (ESCs) are seeking innovative approaches for ensuring reliable supplies of energy, water and other services. They must decide whether to concentrate more on energy-related options or energy-unrelated alternatives. In both cases, resolute customer focussing is the key to success. Today’s customer is self-confident, ready to change, and no longer accepts being reduced to just a meter number with a particular rate of consumption – and the change from one energy provider to another is only a couple of mouse clicks away.
Create comprehensive customer experiences
It is most important to perceive customers as individuals, whose demands and needs can vary widely. Today’s digital natives expect full control of all aspects of their energy supply – irrespective of time and location. Therefore, sluggish service procedures and delays when awaiting telephone support are an absolute no-go. The consumer’s environmental consciousness has changed too. Green electricity and sustainability are both in trend. Drivers of electrically-powered vehicles expect an adequate number of charging stations and a simple payment model. Customers also increasingly prefer differing services from a single source. Many public utility companies lead the way here. As well as providing electricity, water and gas, they also offer communication services, such as telephone, internet and TV. An offer for supplying major needs of energy and communication from a single source? That sounds good, especially for consumers who are unwilling to look around for alternative providers of individual services!
High quality data as capital for the future
These developments show that the consumer’s expectations of energy supply companies (ESCs) have grown. Tailored solutions catering for the individual needs of customers are wanted. The key to success is high quality data, because to make an individual, tailored offer, information about your customers must be complete, correct, up to date and unambiguous. In short, your data quality must be correct.
Although this sounds simple, its implementation is extremely complex. Many energy providers have rigid IT processes that hinder further progress. Master datasets are often collected, processed and stored in different systems, and official applications, smaller systems and files are often kept decentrally in employees’ workplace computers. Company officers responsible for systems and data are often unaware of which systems actually exist; what the data they contain is used for, and whether the systems are synchronised with each other.
- Customer data is duplicated and out of date
- Customer services and call centres cannot immediately identify who they are speaking to
- Marketing departments find it difficult to plan campaigns targeted towards a specific group and to integrate cross-channel communications.
- Consultants have difficulty in constructing individual tariffs and service packages, or creating individual offers.
- In short: A successful change from being an energy supply company to an energy supply company is simply impossible.
The remedy is to create sustainable data management for guaranteeing long term data quality. To achieve a 360° view of your customers, all information sourced from different systems must have the highest quality, because is serves as the criteria for consolidating suitable datasets to form a golden record. A golden record is a complete, correct, up to date, and (most important of all) consolidated customer master dataset, that provides a consistent view of each customer across all fields and applications. Uniserv enables you to expand this golden record by enriching it with sociodemographic classifications, intelligently condensed transaction and interaction data, as well as data from social media. In other words: you create a golden profile.
The Golden Profile – a live picture of your consumers
A golden profile is a comprehensive customer profile containing all relevant information, including purchasing and consumer behaviour, interests and preferences etc., as well as the progress of (possibly) several overlapping customer journeys. It shows where you can the set the levers for optimizing your marketing and sales processes – and provides inspiration for totally new ideas. The result is an individual and intensive customer experience both in the retail shop and online, and across all channels – at all times.
However, not only sustainable management of customer master data is important for a personalised customer approach. There are also a number of legal requirements that demand a consolidated customer view - the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) being just one of many examples.
Are you fit for the future? Test yourself with our Powercheck energy
Are you fit for the future? Do you know your customers? Use our Powercheck energy to find out. You receive a comprehensive assessment of the condition of your customer master data management and the quality level of your customer master data. Our experienced consultants help you to learn more about your customers, and support you in providing sustainable customer relationship management.
- The compact structure of Powercheck energy requires little time for the stakeholder – and therefore has few effects on daily business.
- Structured analysis and early identification of needs for action as the foundation for structured change management – meaning more stakeholder acceptance for changes.
- Data quality becomes measurable and loopholes transparent – the ideal basis for your data management initiatives and future challenges.
- Concrete measures for optimizing customer master data and a feasibility assessment of the timeline mean that measures can be prioritized and implemented at an early stage
- Sustainable customer loyalty enables flexible and fast reactions to new market and consumer demands