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What’s good news for the planet can also be good news for energy companies. And it’s an exciting time to be an energy company in New Zealand.

Contact Energy VIDEO 01-05-15-1.jpg
Almost 40 percent of New Zeland’s energy is from renewable sources. That number could easily grow to more than 50 percent.

“Renewable energy, which has been always cast as much more expensive, is becoming the low-cost option for many, many parts of the world,” Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu told The New Zealand Herald last month. “It’s not true of every part of the world — it depends on whether you have wind or solar.”

New Zealand has plenty of renewable energy, such as geothermal and hydro, with almost 40 percent of its energy — and 80 percent of its electricity — sourced from renewables. In fact, New Zealand could fairly easily get more than half of its energy from renewable sources with the help of hydropower, according to Chu.

Carpe Diem

What’s good for customers can also be good for energy companies. Contact Energy noticed that consumer expectations were changing fast.

“The world of the homogenized mass market is gone,” James Kilty, Contact’s general manager of Sales & Customer Experience, said in an SAP video. “Customers are seeking individual feedback.”

To seize this opportunity, Contact needed a low-cost solution to help it grow, while allowing for select add-ons to meet evolving demands of its 500,000 customers — that’s more than 10 percent of New Zealand’s population.

So the Wellington-based electricity and gas retailer chose SAP Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and Enterprise Central Component (ECC). These solutions enable Contact to:

  • Take more customer calls
  • Answer customer queries much faster
  • Cut overall costs

“The amount of time a customer takes on a call with us dropped by 100 seconds — now that’s substantial,” Contact’s ICT General Manager Mark Corbitt said. “What you can do from the business side of things offsets multiple times the additional costs, from a technology perspective.”

… With a Little Help From My Friends

Contact began its project with SAP MaxAttention, an IT solution that offers long-term high-level IT support to organizations that want to run simple. Within a few days, Contact’s CRM performance improved dramatically.

“The key point for me around both MaxAttention and ActiveEmbedded: You don’t need to know the right questions to ask,” Corbitt said. “You get two weeks of attention, and you see a 30 percent improvement in your transaction performance results and handling time; that’s fantastic.”

The technology operated as effectively as possible, which led to faster business outcomes, according to Corbitt. That was crucial for Contact’s implementation of the SAP landscape.

“The last thing you need when you’re trying to transform your business and drive a culture change is to have a system that isn’t working,” Contact’s Kilty said. “MaxAttention is a critical part of making sure you get that right.”

So Contact is positioning itself for leadership in New Zealand by finding better ways to meet new customer demands, as well as continuing to develop hydro, geothermal and wind power. And that’s good for the planet, the energy industry and its customers.

Follow Derek on Twitter: @DKlobucher

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