Utility Week Customer Conferences 2018

February 19, 2018

In January Impact Utilities attended the annual Utility Week water and energy customer conferences. It’s clear from these flagship events that the landscape of the Utilities sector is changing greatly; with businesses needing to innovate and evolve, using customer insights to guide and drive value moving forwards. Some of our key take-outs from the conference are below:

 

Energy Customer Conference

Increases in the supply of, and demand for, renewable energy and the rise in electric vehicles are already changing the shape of the energy market, but the traditional model is predicted to change further as technology continues to revolutionise the industry. Industry experts at the Energy Customer Conference, highlighted some of the areas that need to be considered;

 

Whilst energy maybe top of mind for you as a business, customers (both business and domestic) spend just a handful of minutes each year thinking about their energy supply.  So, what does this mean for ensuring meaningful customer relationships…?

  • How do you engage your customers when they have little interest in their energy supply?

  • What are the most appealing, accessible and engaging channels for reaching your customers?

  • How do you ensure that as a business you can deliver on the latest trends in customer experience, whilst at the same time ensuring hard to reach or less digitally enabled customers feel included?

  • With switching likely to be made easier, which customers do you focus on maintaining and which do you look to attract? And how?

  • How do you truly listen to, and act on, stakeholder feedback?

  • How do you overcome customers’ concerns around data sharing?

  • What lessons learned can the energy industry transfer from other industries?

 

 

Water Customer Conference

As you know, the Water industry is unprecedented change in multiple directions. At the Utility Week Water Customer Conference, industry experts highlighted some of these issues and the implications for stakeholders:

  • The industry has come under scrutiny with negative media sentiment concerning complex ownership structures, infrastructure failures and political speculation over nationalisation. As a result, there is a growing need to build trust and legitimacy with customers. A tough challenge given the findings of the 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer which found that ‘Trust is in crisis across the world. The general population’s trust in business, government, NGO’s and media has declined broadly, a phenomenon not reported since 2012’

 

  • Customer engagement needs to be at the heart of business activities to drive successful business outcomes. Customers can no longer be seen as passive receivers of a service but need to be the driving force in decisions. Engaging customers and educating them on how they can support the delivery of services in an active way that meets their changing needs and creates value through more personalised service must be the focus.

 

  • Evolution of thinking is required; customers do not have opening hours and businesses therefore need to be available and responsive 24/7, via a range of inclusive communication channels.

 

These issues led to lively debate regarding how providers go about offering more for less; whilst also building trust and innovating to safeguard the future. The consensus was that active participation from customers and active listening from industry will be key.

 

 

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Impact Utilities are customer and stakeholder engagement experts, and opinion leaders in the utilities sector. To find out more about our work, read some of our case studies here or contact Dawn Mulvey, Head of Impact Utilities, on dawn.mulvey@impactmr.com

 

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