Energy providers can’t fail at customer experience in 2019


By Damian Kernahan and Kara Weaving, co-founders of Proto

Where people used to stick with their provider, rising competition and digital disruption has enabled customers to quickly compare and contrast rates and customer reviews at the click of a button. When it comes to moving house or ending a contract, word of mouth and ratings and review sites are informing decisions at an increasing rate.

Energy companies aren’t only being compared with other providers, but customers are comparing one service experience with another blurring the lines between industries. If a customer has had a seamless, positive interaction with another brand, then comes to your business and experiences lengthy hold times, confusing information, broken links, failure to return calls or other challenges, they’ll look elsewhere as they know they can be better served.

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We conducted a recent survey, finding that 78 per cent of customers found problem resolution to be the biggest challenge when dealing with utility providers. This relates to legacy systems of utility providers and layers of responsibility of both internal escalations and third-party agencies that can push the problem back onto the customer. When problems are put back on the customer and issues are poorly managed, customers leave and ultimately the business suffers. Great customer experience is essential to driving loyalty and remaining competitive in 2019 and beyond, however there are a few critical mistakes that businesses are making when trying to improve the customer experience.

Firstly, too many organisations are making the mistake of assuming what their customers want or need. This can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars being invested in the wrong areas. By doing your due diligence and conducting an in-depth analysis of customer engagement – truly walking in their shoes – you can avoid this error.

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Secondly, too many organisations have siloed departments working independently with disconnected channels of communication, ultimately harming the customer. Communication and trust are inextricably linked.

Lastly, organisations are failing to value the employee experience in the process of a service re-design. Your employees are the ones on the front line dealing with your customers every day – they, more than anyone need the tools and education to understand and empathise with your customers. With greater comprehension of the customer experience and compassion, your team can better champion your business.

Bring your employees on the journey. They are the ones dealing with your customers every day and need to be involved in redesigning improved services. Those on the frontline should be viewing your customers with compassion and championing your business.