When the industry as a whole is listed 2nd worst for customer experience, or is ranked at the bottom for reputation, it’s no surprise that consumers are switching utility providers and considering lesser known brands.

While price is undoubtedly a factor, customer experience matters and by 2020 it is predicted to be a brand differentiator. In a cluttered and highly competitive retail energy market in particular, firms need to create a stand-out as price alone will not be enough. Further research goes so far as to say 73% of consumers may even be willing to pay more for a better experience (Capgemini, 2017).

Catering for different consumer needs

 Consumers can and will be fickle. What’s more, consumers have more choice than ever. So much so, that when their needs and wants are not met, the impact for Utilities could lead to a reduction of spend or a total loss of relationship all together – the switch.

The challenge then for utilities, will be to strike a balance with the needs of a business operation and that of the customer experience itself, ensuring to take account of the differing wants of each customer.

There will be those that require speed, efficiency and a purely transactional experience, versus those wanting a more meaningful, personalised, proactive and empathetic interaction. Not forgetting those customers that are undecided and may want a bit of both.

It is critical in any of these scenarios that you begin with what you know about the customer and leverage this insight to help make informed decisions.

In fact, the UK’s biggest energy customer survey (Best and worst energy firms for 2017) found that while the number one spot was taken by an Energy provider based upon price, the survey also showed that “price isn’t everything” with 2nd and 3rd placed firms found to be more expensive but operating as a not-for-profit firm. Clearly showing the complexities of making decisions based purely on price or other factors (Which?, 2017).

Transforming customer experience delivers tangible benefits

There is no doubt that transforming customer experience has the potential to deliver real benefits to utilities. Not only does it provide a platform to differentiate when price alone fails to stand out, but there is striking evidence to suggest tangible links between customer experience and business performance.

Most notably in recent research from Capgemini: “NPS leaders were found to gain about 2.5% of their total annual revenue, in additional sales revenue by delivering an enhanced customer experience”. From improved profitability, increased customer retention and enhanced employee engagement, the case for prioritising customer experience has never been so compelling.

RECENTLY PUBLISHED RESEARCH: THE DISCONNECTED CUSTOMER, FROM UX TO CX: RETHINKING THE DIGITAL USER EXPERIENCE AS A COLLABORATIVE EXCHANGE

REFERENCES: CAPGEMINI (2017), WALKER (2017), ENGINE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE SURVEY (2015), REPTRAK (2016), UTILITY WEEK (2016), OFGEM (2017)