Keytree transforms National Grid Gas Distribution’s customer experience

Gas Distribution is responsible for providing the underground gas pipes that safely connect its customers to the energy they use. These gas pipes supply around 11 million businesses, schools and homes within four regional networks; East of England, North West England, West Midlands and North London. Providing customers a quality service is paramount, and Keytree delivered the skills and experience to transform National Grid’s customer experience.

“Keytree were fantastic at understanding the needs of our customers and are a very skilled and experienced organisation when it comes to creating a great customer/user experience. Their wealth of technical expertise and professional approach enabled us to deliver a great product to achieve our objective.”

Annette Bunn – Change Manager at National Grid

Business needs

Gas Distribution embarked on a journey aimed at improving the service it provided to customers when they needed a new gas supply or a change to their existing supply. The project provided a variety of enhancements, aimed at ensuring the client’s journey was easier and more transparent.

The Connections Transformation Project (CTP), delivered in partnership with Keytree, focused on transforming the way that people interacted with the system to improve customer experience.

This included the following priorities:

  • A new website to allow customers to manage applications
  • A new web front end for employees to view and manage work
  • Amendments to the pricing in SAP to implement a more customer-specific model
  • Improvements to the output of the Quote and Statement of Work
logo National Grid

Online interface

Changes to the online customer application have ensured that the client’s journey is significantly simplified, asking only the relevant questions at each step of the process, with access from both desktop and mobile devices.

The purpose of the newly designed online application was to look at the process from the customer’s perspective rather than being based on the internal delivery process.

Feedback from customers confirmed they needed something easy to use and follow without asking for unnecessary technical information. They wanted the ability to upload documents to their account rather than having to send via the post and be able to track the progress of their job without the need to call the contact centre. Customers can now see documents uploaded by surveyors such as survey photos and can follow the status of their job online.

Keytree also built in the capability for National Grid staff to directly upload documents to accounts so all the relevant documentation is available at the click of a button – this is particularly helpful when survey photographs are required or other documentation linked to the job.

National Grid, alongside other energy companies, needs to execute some complex processes, but the majority of customers do not have the required technical knowledge or expertise in this area. The system supports the client in their answers, for example by providing a linked mapping tool which helps customers to measure distances to a gas main accurately.

Overall, the customer now has a simple, understandable process to follow, with increased transparency about the costs, and the ability to track the progress of their work without the need of capturing complex technical gas information.

“The team exceeded our expectations, were flexible to requirement changes and always offered an alternative solution to overcome any technical issues. It was a pleasure to do business with Keytree.”

Suzanne CallingtonStakeholder Delivery Specialist at National Grid


Work Allocation Tool

All Gas Connection team employees are supported by a Work Allocation Tool (WAT), which provides managers with real-time access to a simple dashboard listing jobs that are all at various stages but need to be progressed by agents.

The real-time visibility of requests received from customers via the online portal provides agents with all the required customer information along with the two-hour time slot customers choose for an agent to call back and provide a quotation. This new approach means National Grid are often able to provide the client with a quote on the same day and often within one or two hours.

Jobs allocated to agents can be dealt with accordingly, and agents can review each task and its assigned status to ensure no action is missed, maintaining a high level of efficiency. The time it takes to respond to requests for quotes has reduced from one to two working days to responses now issued on the day of enquiry.

Quote & Statement of Work

An obvious area in which customers wanted a better experience was around quotes and statements of work, mainly to provide more transparency on a breakdown of charges and what’s related to these charges. Keytree delivered a system that now provides a statement of account online, which presents a clear summary of all refunds, discounts or additional payments at the end of the job so the customer has clear visibility on what they have paid.

Backend integration – SAP

The website and WAT are fully integrated with back-end SAP processes so there is only a single source of data and process – this means customers will be provided with the same information regardless of whether they are online or on the telephone. No reconciliation or replication is required, even though the user experience may be very different for different user groups.

Scope of changes

By focusing on improving customer service through a better experience, this has allowed Gas Distribution to transform its processes and deliver a simplified customer journey. Customer touch points have now been reduced to six and provide a single point of contact throughout a job for consistency. These improvements to customer service levels have also created tangible benefits with positive advances in Customer Satisfaction scores. Since the project started, there has been a 12 percent improvement in the application process via the online portal – with the WAT and real-time visibility, relating to the time it takes to provide a quote to customers, National Grid have seen scores improve by eight percent.