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Customer Management – reduce costs and improve your customer experience

Credit Risk & Affordability

FlowchartAs energy costs have risen significantly in the last few years, energy and water suppliers find themselves facing increasing regulatory scrutiny towards the level of price passed onto the consumer itself, with growing sensitivity and potential criticism from the public and politicians. With a clear focus on appropriateness of costs and treating customers fairly, the ‘consumer’ has never been so high on the FCA’s agenda. Furthermore, energy and water suppliers have been put under the spot light to ensure the services they provide to customers is to the highest standard and commensurate to the price they pay for them.

With such a competitive market (currently energy only) and the industry under the microscope, enhancing the customer experience is essential to creating a competitive advantage, strengthening brand reputation and reducing cost through lowering customer turnover.

Customer management is more than just creating a good customer experience, it is about getting beneath your customer and truly knowing who they are, what they want from a supplier and what they actually need.  Knowing them so completely that you can create and deliver a personalised experience that will serve their requirements and entice them to remain loyal but also tell others about you.

Gartner defines customer management as: “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”

Gaining this depth of knowledge about your customers comes from extracting insight from all the customer touch points and channels from across your business and harnessing this insight.  Large and diverse customer bases can be difficult to manage.  Sometimes complex processes run on legacy technology where the change plan is driven so often by regulatory developments rather than business need.   Changes in customer circumstances, site occupancy, customer personal details & contact information are not necessarily reflected in internal systems until it’s too late and an issue has emerged.  This can bring associated costs and impact customer satisfaction.

The concept of customer experience may sound idealistic but in this day and age the customer experience has become a critical differentiator.  Customers are more astute to what else is on offer and with switching made so much easier energy providers need to extend the customer relationship to more than just a one-time transaction or a pre-defined process.

Key tips

  • Overall – put the customer at the heart of your decision making process by ensuring you build your processes around their lifestyle, desired interaction points and circumstances.
  • Make sure you can keep in touch with your customers – keep your customer’s details up to date with the best contact management data available
  • Save time, money and improve the customer experience by tailoring contact strategies to customer channel and contact time preferences (including payment reminders)
  • Ensure you recognise and treat vulnerability early and deliver against your social responsibility values – identify customers exposed to fuel/water poverty so you can take an appropriate approach and ensure you treat customers fairly
  • Reduce costs and improve customer experience by reacting proactively to changes in customer creditworthiness/address/bank account
  • Identify potential debt issues early and act quickly to reduce debt build up
  • Reduce costs associated with vacant properties or void/occupier accounts
  • Reduce costs and improve customer experience by identifying duplication and inconsistency in your records
  • Reduce waste in business processes by improving the quality of your data

If you would like to discuss any of this in more depth or have any questions please drop me an email: mitul.patel@callcreditgroup.com.

Author: Mitul Patel

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