Digital Engagement Post COVID19: winners and losers

July 7, 2020

Whilst we’re clearly still a long way from a post COVID19 world, the very real impacts of the pandemic are all already being felt across the world. The most obvious challenges for the energy industry are dealing with reduced consumption and therefore revenue from business customers, and coping with the likely increase in debt attributed to non or delayed payment across all market segments.

Those market realities exacerbated by the current economic climate are already creating some seismic shifts in business models. British Gas have recently launched their ‘X’ online only business in an attempt to address the need for low cost and more digitally focused offerings. This trend towards online service delivery will only accelerate and shows that digital underpins the competitiveness necessary to win, or win back, market share.

However, the industry cannot revert to type – spending too much money on analysis, followed by long drawn out delivery projects, running over budget, and falling short of the original aims. Rapid deployment and maximising out of the box functionality are key to driving the necessary acceleration of digital capability in the post COVID19 era.

At Astral Tech, our CEO Jeremy Thomas puts it very simply: 

“Other than unmanageable costs to serve, there’s a reason why some energy companies succeed and some fail. It’s down to sentiment. In a market where the end product is identical (electricity/gas/water) there is only one thing that really drives business growth and that is your customer’s sentiment”

Continuing this theme of simplicity, Astral Tech describe the shift to sustainable growth and profitability as a series of building blocks where you look to shift customer sentiment whilst keeping your operational expenditure lean:

  • Foundations – get the basics right via billing system and Customer Service
  • Intuitive Digital User Experience – everything online creating ease of doing business
  • A blend of pro-activity, light touch, and engagement to drive positive sentiment

If a customer has to question the basics, such as billing, invoice timeliness, competitive pricing, as a retailer you are likely to be, or soon to be, a shrinking business. This is because the customer sentiment is 😡!

If everything is right first time and made available online in an intuitive manner, put the champagne back in the fridge because you’ve only achieved the minimum standard. The customer sentiment is only 😐!

To drive positive sentiment all the above has to be in place and you need to treat the customers how they want to be treated – and they’re not all the same! Some want minimal contact with pro-active communication when necessary, others prefer to be engaged with value adds. 😊

Astral Tech can ensure you reach the minimum standard rapidly and at low cost, leveraging out of the box functionality and data integration expertise. Realising your intuitive digital offering in the secure and scalable Astral Cloud.

Then use our insight tools to help you to better understand your customers, and our event driven messaging to engage with them just how they like it, driving the sentiment such that your business grows.

Moving more of your service to the digital realm doesn’t need a three year ‘transformation’ plan. It needs a clear pathway, an ability to build on the customer experience and most importantly it requires an expert partner with the skills to deliver at speed and leverage a deep capability with regards to the complexities of the market and energy data.

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Speak with our market experts about how Astral Tech software can help your Utilities business.