The (non) experience of energy customers

The (non) experience of energy customers

To win customers in a liberalised energy market where there are many providers, good services are just as important as competitive prices. Customers, like in many other sectors, prefer services that are easy to understand and make them feel in control. Being relevant to customers’ major life events such as moving home also opens doors to doing more businesses with them in the future.

The energy market in Western Europe is changing. Liberalisation of the energy market means more providers enter the market, competition heats up and customer acquisition cost increases. Everyday there are customers reconsidering their contracts; irritations such as poor billing experience could easily drive them to competitors.

A commonly held view is that customers choose providers solely based on price. However, thriving providers are the ones that manage to retain customers.

Make it appear simple for customers

Energy supply is a complicated business. It involves systems that manage supply and demand, and fluctuation in prices and the customer base. Do customers care about the complexity behind their energy supply? They don’t. However, they do care about their interactions with energy providers. Therefore, energy providers would benefit from hiding internal complexity from customers, and interacting with them in a more human way.

Help customers feel in control

To many customers, energy usage is invisible and tariffs are complex. Customers often fear that they are overcharged or ripped off. With the introduction of smart meters, it is an opportunity to give customers easy access to information about their energy usage and help them feel in control. Ultimately, improvements in the experience can boost customer retention rates.

89% of consumers switched to a competitor following a poor customer experience.

Major life events = opportunities

Energy providers can earn equity by being available when customers need them. Consider how major life events, such as moving home, having a new baby or retirement, change the energy needs of customers. These events present great opportunities to be relevant to customers, as you can refer them to additional or different services such as home maintenance or tariff bundles. Interacting with customers during these major life events can result in loyal customers.

Build customer trust

Energy providers must actively engage with their customers, in order to build their trust and retain them as loyal customers. There are at least two ways to engage with customers effectively: give customers more control over their energy usage, and proactively interact with them during their major life events.