Serving a Changing Utilities Market
Trevor Lea-Cox represented EW on the panel discussion at the Future of Utilities event last month. The panel consisted of leading names from the U.K.’s energy sector and the topic to be discussed was serving a changing market. However, the question of how to serve a changing customer across the business to business utilities sector also came under consideration. The main points from the panel discussion can be found here.
The consensus from the panel was clear that the energy sector has suffered false starts in the past around energy services and the existing systems in place not being fully functional. The emphasis is now clearly shifting from getting the core fundamentals established to delivering good engagement levels with customers. This is a crucial period of transformation for utilities.
Does the business to business energy sector fully understand their customers well enough, especially in terms of how they would like to consume and make choices?
It is imperative that companies utilise the available data in order to gain valuable insights into customer behaviours. Digital platforms need to become intuitive to deliver the real service that customers want.
Is the utilities business sector providing the very best service possible to its customers?
At present, it would appear that there is much to be done in this area. When considering best practise, the panel felt that it can be useful to reflect on the retail sector, who work in partnership with customers to ensure they are providing exactly what the customer wants. As digital relations continue to develop and strengthen between utilities companies and consumers, companies must ensure to look into the future to maintain the momentum and keep up with changing customer requirements. The key will be constant engagement with customers to ensure that the service being provided is continually optimised.
Are energy companies fully equipped to providing true value added services to their customers or will this come from other services like manufacturers?
Despite the synergy between water and energy, at present, there is a lack of joined up services which could improve the value added services and reduce consumption and demand. This is surprising as a partnership of this kind could change consumption behaviours and be of mutual benefit for all involved.
Is there a time when the energy industry will move from business services to total outsourcing?
To really deliver valuable services you must have a very deep understanding of the dynamics of the market. The issue with outsourcing, in a similar way to what has happened in the IT market, is that unless you understand fully the chain of services that have been outsourced, you are potentially introducing a huge amount of business risk to your organisation. Therefore, companies must consider very carefully what they outsource and who they outsource to.