Callcredit Blog

Utilities: understanding the home move problem

Business Efficiency Consumer Marketing Data

shutterstock_351011921Moving home is something we tend to do only a few times during our pre-university years, then it goes off the scale as we enjoy living in student accommodation, sometimes followed by a gap year, a few years’ of renting and house shares. Then, if you’re really lucky, you might, just might start to stumble on the property ladder, enter into marital bliss and the rest is history. However, we all know it’s never that straightforward.

Let’s look at some of the numbers;

  • In 2014, 2.56 million households moved home.
  • Of these, 59% were private renters
  • 27% were owner occupiers and the rest 14%, were social housing renters.

Surely not all of the above follow what we would deem a typical home move journey?

What about the almost 530,000[1]  deaths that were registered in 2015; the 115,000 divorces, the 250,000 marriages registered in 2011, the 1, 700 civil partnerships in 2014 and the 698,000 births registered in 2015. While this information is an indicator that people will be on the move, there is an easier and more sophisticated way to monitor changes in household composition, who’s living where and what it means to the services you currently provide, or could provide in the future.

You’d think that most providers, whether that be utilities, financial services or insurance would have the home move process wrapped up – but that’s often not the case.

Here’s a few handy ways to start thinking about differentiating your home move process:

  1. Understand the triggers: what triggers a home move? Some of the more obvious ones, we’ve identified above but how can you identify the non-standard triggers?
  2. Think outside the box: ‘For Sale’ sign data is great, but what about credit, or other behaviour that can indicate a change in circumstances?
  3. Map out a clear and simple home move process: look at what is a customer likely to do when they’re moving home, and how can you interact with them at the right time for them, not you.
  4. Tweak it, test it and learn from it: once you’ve mapped out the home move process, tweak it, test it and learn from it, don’t just let things remain static.
  5. Work with your best customers: work with your best customers across a multitude of demographic profiles to understand their thoughts and feeling – everyone reacts to moving home differently so it’s really important to put yourself in your customers shoes, not just your own.

The ‘Customer is king’, may be cheesy, but it’s never been truer than throughout the home move process.  It’s so easy to lose sight of your customers, and where they’re located, which ultimately means that all the hard work you’ve gone through to retain them, goes straight out of the window.

On the other hand, it’s a huge opportunity.  Where providers are doing a bad job of dealing with customers moving home, use that to your advantage, it’s not just about retaining customers, why not try and acquire some, especially ones that look like your best customers.

Finally, make your existing and potential customers want to have a relationship with you, so when they do move home, they don’t leave you.

[1] Source: ONS. All numbers rounded up.

Author: Laura Thistlethwaite

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