Everybody is in Retail
This is what my colleague Jürgen Kuhmann, a veteran for Customer Experience in the Utilities Industry, said in his opening words at the annual “SAP Utility Week 2022”. The day on the 26th of January was focused on the market role of “Retailer”. There are different roles, ranging from Generation, Distribution etc. the Retailer is usually the one that has the most direct interactions with the customer; in deregulated markets, they are the ones that want to win you, as a customer, over the competition. But even in regulated scenarios the retailer is the first point of contact and is working on the level and quality of engagement with their customers. Because it is still a kind of competition: a one for the time and the money of their customers? Why is that? Time is obvious as we all have busy days and need good reasons to carve out some to use it to interact with a company that is usually passively “serving” in the background. And what about money? For sure there is no competition about energy in regulated markets, but Utilities are looking for ways to sell additional, value-added, products and services, and those are being charged for.
That leads us back to the initial phrase: Everybody is in Retail. Because everybody must win the customer, in one way or another. And therefore, it makes sense to have a look beyond the industry borders and investigate other industries that have a business model that is like Utilities.
If you watch the recording, you will have the opportunity to listen to Nicholas Odom, expert in customer loyalty and he gives some great insights and learning from beyond. I believe that these best practices help Utilities to match their experiences with those that are being considered “standard” in other industries. At the end we are all customer ourselves and therefore do compare our interactions, I at least, don’t differentiate between what industry the company is in.
I am very grateful to have such great customer representatives at the event that shared their insights about their Customer Experience projects. Just to name two of them, first: Mark R Blaszkiewicz, Manager IT at DTE Energy in the United States. He describes how his company was able to drastically reduce the time to market with new products and services. Being able to have a flexible platform that enables customers to enroll or purchase newly introduced products and services in a matter of weeks instead of months was and is a huge benefit.
Secondly, we have Christian Skobjin from MVV Enamic, he described how they optimized their customer eCommerce platform so that small-/medium businesses can generate quotes in a self-service way, with the positive side effect that the quote creation process was reduced drastically. This alone is quite astounding, that this helped MVV Enamic to provide better customer experience, conquer a new market segment and help with cross- and upsell is worth having a look.
In case you have become excited and want to see all the customer presentations, we have good news for you:
Watch the recording of the day on-demand: