How energy suppliers can move beyond legacy systems
Dec 14, 2023
Head of Product
Overcoming legacy tech to deliver outstanding customer service
According to a recent survey by trade union Prospect, more than one in three (34%) professionals working in the energy sector feel overwhelmed or highly stressed most of the time or even every day.1
The energy industry is fast-paced, highly regulated and characterised by constant change. This is especially true as the sector undergoes intense transformation to prepare for the net zero transition. The need to keep up with rapidly changing regulations and the risk of making costly mistakes can take a toll on energy companies’ workforce – leading to agent fatigue and the risk of burnout.
Moreover, customer expectations are adding pressure on customer service agents. Research shows that 73% of customers expect companies to understand their needs, but only 51% of them believe they generally do.2 On top of that, 70% of customers expect anyone they interact with to have full context.3
The ability to understand and ideally prevent customer needs plays a big part in customer agents’ jobs. For example, dealing with queries, doubts or complaints around billing is a critical area of their work, made even more complex after the introduction of the Energy Bill Relief Scheme in October 2022.
At the same time, managing a high amount of complex customer requests on a daily basis can negatively affect energy workers’ performance – leading to compromised CSAT and a stressed workforce. These issues are amplified when legacy technology further complicates agents’ jobs, due to outdated processes and systems that don’t support effective problem solving.
When performance is key
When customer service agents are not performing at their best, customers are more likely to not have their queries solved in a satisfactory and timely manner. This can negatively impact CSAT and eventually drive customers away.
The recently passed Energy Act is aiming at making the energy market more competitive, and in a context of increased competition, energy companies simply can’t afford to lose staff and clients due to less than ideal customer service.
To stay competitive in an increasingly crowded market, energy organisations must create a company culture where agents can thrive and be productive, taking pride in their ability to help customers quickly and efficiently.
To do that, agents must be equipped with tech that supports them in their daily tasks and, ideally, allows them to solve queries on first contact. Customer service representatives are often the first point of contact between customers and energy organisations, and having a motivated and energetic customer service team can help customers feel seen and supported.
However, research shows that over half (59%) of customer service representatives are at risk of burnout.4 For energy companies, this translates into lowered productivity and high turnover rates – both of which can seriously impact a business’s bottom line.
The impact of legacy systems
There are several measures that energy companies can implement to improve agents’ performance and consequently achieve highest customer satisfaction. From preventing agent fatigue to ensuring customer service reps stay motivated, it’s worth considering what can be done to ensure an outstanding customer experience.
The first thing to consider is how to create a customer-centric culture, where agents are empowered to have a holistic view of their customers and solve all their issues at once. This avoids customers being redirected from one agent to another, leading to frustration from both parties.
However, a customer-centric culture is only possible when agents have access to all relevant customer information at a glance, and are empowered to make the right decisions based on accurate, up-to-date data.
To achieve this, it’s critical to overcome the constraints of legacy technology, and to provide teams with the tools they need to keep up with the demands of modern customer service.
Upgrading a company’s tech stack, replacing outdated systems with innovative and intuitive ones, can provide agents with the information they need to solve queries on first contact, improving both retention rates and CSAT.
A platform your teams will love
To offer utilities a responsive, flexible and intuitive platform, ENSEK has been tracking usage data that gives insights into customer experiences, and has combined it with monthly insights from agents. The result is our new customer
experience framework, an evolution of our Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform, designed exclusively to respond to the needs of energy organisations.
Ignition has been optimised to reduce cost to serve, shorten the agents’ learning curve, reduce their cognitive load, and improve overall efficiency. It offers a comprehensive view of an energy company’s accounts, so customer service agents can have full access to their customer's history and data at a glance. By having a single view of the truth instead of having to browse through multiple screens, they can quickly sort issues on first contact, reducing cost to serve while improving the customer’s experience.
Moreover, permission-led configuration and customisable workflows help define clear lines of responsibility, and provide actionable instruction in a language each team can understand. This gives teams a clear view of their client portfolio, simplifying account management and customer handling, and providing live balances.
Thanks to these features, Ignition can help utilities increase agents’ performance, while providing their customers with the level of service they demand and deserve.
If you’d like to learn more about how ENSEK can support your teams, you can get in touch to organise a discovery call.