Enhancing customer value through premium services: an energy sector example

Enhancing customer value through premium services: an energy sector example

At a time of rapid change in the energy sector, customer experience optimization is high priority for brands. Find out how one green energy brand in Europe made its premium advisory service stand out from the crowd - with help from Konecta.

The energy sector in Europe is going through radical transformation in the 2020s, and this is set to continue. A number of significant factors are involved in this transformation, including changing consumer behavior and expectations; market liberalization; digital transformation; and the energy transition. One of these factors alone would be a sizeable issue for brands; in combination, they are seismic. Which means that some brands are feeling daunted by the challenges they face, while others are excited about the opportunities.

One of the latter brands was a green energy provider in Europe, which wanted to capture the opportunities around green energy transition and changing consumer mindsets. Working with Konecta, it saw that customer experience optimization can be a powerful differentiator for consumers, though it must also be accompanied by competitive pricing. Idenifying an excellent opportunity to target the premium customer segment, it asked Konecta for a solution.

The client ask

The wishlist provided to Konecta by the green energy client ran as follows. It wanted to set up an advisory and customer care service for premium customers, such as new customers with dual switch, energy efficiency applicants, and high-spending businesses, and to enhance the care and value to offered to them. The intention was to generate loyalty and long-term value from this high-potential customer base, who might be looking to make major behavioral shifts from traditional gas & power to solar panels, low-impact energy,  EV chargers, or buildings efficiency certification, all of which might require specialist or advisory support.

Four clear client needs were specified to Konecta:

  • Attention to the environmental sustainability  of the service, in order to meet customer preferences 
  • Lower spend and higher efficiency
  • Simplified bureaucracy and reduced technical complexity for the customer
  • Added value and differentiation

The Konecta response

Konecta’s specialist energy sector team got straight onto the challenge, bringing its knowledge of the energy sector, local market requirements (from market ‘culture’ to regulation), and the possibilities offered by digital transformation. Its proposal involved three game-changer elements:

  • Design and deployment of a live conversation tool, enabling new ‘live impact’ services to be delivered to premium customers
  • Implementation of an end-to-end managed service, allowing the delivery of a seamless experience that customers increasingly expect
  • The use of empowered, enhanced agents.

These three elements are described in more detail below.

Element 1: Live conversation tool

This tool is at the heart of the differentiation offered to the energy client’s premium customers. It allows the customer’s navigation to be transformed into an online experience assisted by a customer advisor, who can guide them through video support, in real time and on the same device on which the navigation is being carried out. Other options include video calls or access to a virtual showroom.

In addition to this assistance on customers’ (or potential customers’) support needs, the design of the live conversation tool and the premium service also offers other options to interact with the customer, for example in:

  • pre-sale engagement, where the customer is looking for more information about a specific product or service
  • webinar participation or access to dedicated webpages
  • customer conversions, through the customer being able to complete requests and switches either online (immediately or at a later time) or by scheduling a dedicated follow-up appointment.

Element 2: End-to-end managed process

Customers’ growing expectation of seamless services, including through whichever channel they prefer at any time, means that brands must be able to deliver streamlined services that integrate both front-office and back-office operations. Konecta’s team therefore designed a joined-up service that accompanied the customer journey end-to-end, with no discontinuities or inconveniences experienced by users, , as well as clearly-visible provision and availability of premium-level value-added services, ‘extra’ care, and customization options.. 

We’ll give a few examples of how this translated into a seamless user experience.

  • Activation from inbound call: the agent receiving an inbound call and detecting the opportunity to use the advisory service, reroutes the customer to a specialist agent who manages the interaction in real time.
  • Simple appointment booking: customers can book an advisory appointment through an app or through the website, allowing them to choose for themselves the most convenient time for their own schedule
  • Information provision: the advisory process also includes the sending of supporting and education materials to the customer, and also feedback requests – allowing the green energy provider to better understand, analyze and act upon this feedback.

Element 3: Empowered agents

The third powerful ingredient in the premium advisory service proposed by Konecta was the use of empowered agents, providing premium customers with the human touch backed by technology. These specially trained agents bring to the service a combination of technical skills, including knowledge of tech, energy products and market trends, which they draw on to deliver the advisory service. 

Added to this is the agents’ high degree of professional experience and skills in, for example, communication, empathy, conflict management and a commercial approach. The technology tools embedded in the service liberate these agents from basic tasks and allow them more scope to use their skills and experience to flex to customers’ needs. 

Agents are also given a high level of accountability. In effect, their role is that of a personal concierge, taking charge of the customer journey from the first contact, right through the proposition and assistance stages, providing the customer with a high-quality and caring end-to-end customer experience. In this way, the enhanced agents are effective and persuasive advocates for the green energy brand, promoting its corporate values and competitive advantages to premium customers, and continuously to build loyalty and engagement.

Premium support along different axes

Using these three elements, the energy client’s premium customers are made to feel valued and cared-for in several different respects and potential scenarios, including:

·       Education – customers can be provided with explanations to their questions, whether they’re simply curious or are bringing a complaint or confrontational approach

·       Resolution – customers’ problems or issues, however complex or unusual, can be addressed by super-skilled agents with access to multi-level information, providing a personalized ‘private banker’ or concierge style of service

·       High-end service – executive-level service gently nudges customers towards live purchases, even of expensive products such as boilers and solar panels.

Clearly, these approaches require agents at the top of their game, with strong technical skills as well as soft skills, and also require more dedicated time per conversation – it’s certainly not an entry-level solution. However, the client considers its premium service as a sound investment, with the extra care, customization and value-added services ultimately delivering:

·       A strong boost in sales conversion of complex products

·       Improved customer experience and loyalty

·       Reduced contacts (over the long term).

In a sector that is so fast-changing, and has so much potential, these results put the client in a strong and exciting position for the future!

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