Ofgem’s recent retail market report shows the big six energy suppliers having more than twice the average number of customer complaints than the independents. This marks the battle lines for the big six to get their customers service levels improved to stem the potential migration of dissatisfied customers to the smaller independents.
In a recent interview with Utility Week Jo Causon, chief executive of the Institute of Customer Service commented, absolutely correctly, that “If customer service is not treated as a strategic business concern … there is a risk that customers will turn to competitors in search of a better service” I would go one further than that saying its almost a forgone conclusion with the predicted ease of switching made possible by the new smart meters. This does in the short term rely on DCC hitting their rollout date of April 2016 which is now has an element of doubt hanging over it.
Aside from the SMICOP guidelines issued, utility companies must now focus on the transformation challenges from analogue to Smart meters and how to develop strong customer engagement both during and post the switch. The key to success and retaining customers is simple, it’s about data. Not only the new data available from Smart meters but legacy data including demographic and behavioural and data accessed via 3rd party data profiling methods.
All this will eventually provide a holistic view of each customer by which the utility companies can start an intelligent customer engagement programme delivering the right message to the right person at the right time through the right channel.
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