Customer experience (CX) is at the forefront of mind for those in the Utilities industry.
We know from our experience of working with utilities companies that they are very much in the business of spinning plates. Managing and maintaining vast infrastructure networks, undertaking major engineering projects to develop new capacity and driving innovation to lessen the impacts of our increasingly unpredictable climate.
But even that is only half the story. The utilities sector also needs to focus on providing the best possible service to their customers. Not only is it the right thing to do, but regulators are coming down hard on those who underinvest in customer experience.
Why CX matters
With the penalty of hefty fines as a consequence, great CX is not simply a nice to have, but a business imperative. The best performing utilities companies in the UK are those who got ahead of the curve and invested in CX early.
British Gas, for instance, helped over 300,000 people manage their debt in 2021 and launched a £2 million fund to help customers with their winter energy bills. The company also formed the British Gas Energy Trust to offer energy debt advice and support to those who need it.
Customers have high expectations around just in time services and want to be kept informed at every step of the way. 65% of customers want to buy from companies that offer quick and easy online transactions, according to the 2021 Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report.
New technologies and operating models enable this, and many consumer goods companies have now normalised it. Customers notice when services don’t live up to their increased expectations. This can lead to low Ofwat Customer Measure of Experience (CMex) or Ofgem Customer Satisfaction Survey (CSS) scores.
We have helped utilities companies make huge strides in redesigning their customer journeys. We understand the complexities involved. Not only in serving potentially millions of customers who may need an efficient operational response. But also in managing the business-to-business relationships that are essential for new connections and capacity enhancements.
We also understand that many utilities companies are using outdated and inflexible legacy technologies. So we work with companies to ensure any service transformation is technically feasible.
With market-leading research and service design capabilities, we take a human-centric approach to design. Empathy is a growing expectation from customers, especially in industries, like utilities, that are heavily affected by the cost-of-living crisis.
The Financial Lives 2020 survey showed that almost two-thirds of UK adults aged 18-34 had one or more characteristics of vulnerability in October 2020, rising from less than half in February. These vulnerabilities have been compounded further with the cost-of-living crisis. Therefore, a laser-focus on the needs of customers and ensuring that services are desirable, as well as feasible and viable, is paramount.
Get in touch
We have a deep sector knowledge of working with large utilities to solve this very question of vulnerability. Bringing our expertise from working with some of the largest social media, financial services and media companies in the world. We are perfectly placed to help reimagine customer experience across the utilities sector.
If you’re interested in discussing how we can support your business objectives, please get in touch with us.
By Jonathan Yeates, Head of Design at ExperienceLab.