The days of corresponding with your energy provider via long telephone calls are no longer a reality as the sector is quickly adopting new technology based processes and methodologies to improve the customer experience.

But utility organisations are not restricting these developments to clients; they are also providing the same enhancements to their staff – giving employees an easier way to navigate and access customer data to help provide the best service possible. This approach also has a significant bearing on Customer Satisfaction scores, which Ofgem – the Regulatory Authority for the energy sector in the UK, closely monitor.

Richard Higgins

Head of Energy & Utilities

Understanding the needs of your workforce and creating tools for the job

First and foremost, knowing what’s the most suitable solution for an employee or customer comes solely from immersing yourself in the world they both live in – experiencing the pain points that cause potential disruption. Keytree is no stranger to user experience and flexed its expertise to improve day to day operations for staff at National Grid, the electricity and gas company that connects consumers in the UK and USA to energy sources through its networks.

National Grid’s mission was to turn their team of ‘Complaints Champions’ into a high-performing outfit who could give the firm’s customers a faster, friendly and more responsive service. The team was spending most of their time managing the current system – instead of dealing with complaints. This anomaly made it hard for the company to meet its compliance goals around response time to complaints and, as a regulated industry, this was not an acceptable position.

Keytree’s UX team spent time with the National Grid complaints team to understand exactly how they handle calls, process complaints and complete the necessary paperwork. A new responsive and easy-to-use front end was created and calls now only take a few minutes – whereas previously similar tasks would take up to 40 minutes – and users now have the added option of scheduling follow-ups or automatically date stamping activity.

“When I first met Keytree it was refreshing – it felt like we were talking the same language and they understood where we wanted to get to. Working with Keytree was great – it felt like we were one of the team”

Jo Giles, Complaints Manager – National Grid

Simplifying processes to help customer navigation

Helping staff to do their job to the best of their ability has a knock on effect to the consumer, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s enough.

For National Grid Gas Distribution customers (rebranded as Cadent Gas), requesting a new gas supply or making a change to their existing supply was not the smoothest of processes – and had room for improvement. Using the same approach in understanding staff needs was applied to consumer requirements, placing particular attention to the customer journey – looking at the process from the perspective of the client rather than being based on internal delivery procedures.

Keytree co-delivered the Connections Transformation Project at National Grid Gas Distribution and the newly designed online application for new gas connections was simplified and made transparent; only relevant questions were addressed during each step of the journey – instantly transforming the way people interacted with the system.

Any request relating to an existing or new gas supply can be convoluted and requires supporting documentation, but customers wanted to avoid answering additional technical questions with the option to upload documents, rather than having to send in the post. The new solution allows clients to upload and view all documents, including those by surveyors. Customers now have 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 to capture complex technical gas information.

Creating a truly digital experience on both sides of the fence, seamlessly linking and improving interaction between the consumer and employee will pay dividends and enhance the customer experience. In the utility market, this scenario is vital – the retention of customers plays a huge part in any business strategy, with their loyalty rewarded with a stress-free encounter when contacting their energy provider. It also helps maintain and improve Customer Satisfaction scores, and this can only be a good thing.

“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 – National Grid

Case Studies

Read more about the National Grid & Cadent Gas projects…

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