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McKinsey published an excellent report in April 2023 exploring the most critical ways energy providers can boost their resilience and digital customer experience (CX). This is now more important than ever, especially in Europe. Energy prices have been at record levels over the past year, so customers have been acutely aware of how much they are paying and how dissatisfied they are with the service received. The McKinsey report summarised the three key blockers to change and then suggested three paths to actually achieve change. Let’s explore some of what they suggested.

First, the reasons why energy companies and utilities find it so hard to change:

  1. Ambiguous or imprecise business cases: also known as hype or the silver bullet. Promises about the outcomes from any business initiative should have well-grounded expectations - essential when recommending an investment in improved CX. Don’t promise exponential growth if you can’t back it up with a well-informed forecast.
  2. Ambiguous or imprecise business cases: also known as hype or the silver bullet. Promises about the outcomes from any business initiative should have well-grounded expectations - essential when recommending an investment in improved CX. Don’t promise exponential growth if you can’t back it up with a well-informed forecast.
  3. Doubts about tech agility and ability: legacy technology is there in most big energy companies, but often the real problem is that a vast chasm exists between the people managing the IT and those facing the customers. The legacy IT systems are used as an excuse for not changing.

Three Steps to Transforming Customer Service and Embracing Innovation in Energy Companies

These all sound familiar, especially the final point. An inability to get different silos to collaborate can prevent any significant change initiative from succeeding. Customer service initiatives should now be collaborative and include research, marketing, sales, and IT - everyone in the business that has some interaction with customers.

The three steps to getting right, according to McKinsey, are:

  1. Align on the why: this cultural change must come from the top. Why do we want to improve, and how do we all need to pull in the same direction? It mainly affects the cross-silo collaboration because if all customer interaction has been seen as a customer service issue, then it also has to be the responsibility of the IT team equally. It is changing attitudes and ideas.
  2. Align on the why: this cultural change must come from the top. Why do we want to improve, and how do we all need to pull in the same direction? It mainly affects the cross-silo collaboration because if all customer interaction has been seen as a customer service issue, then it also has to be the responsibility of the IT team equally. It is changing attitudes and ideas.
  3. Use tech to create new ways of working: stop thinking of legacy tech systems that take years to design and release and are outdated before they are even delivered. Adopt agile development methods and a culture of continuous service improvement.

This is great advice, as you might expect from the McKinsey team, but I would go a step further. Every energy company will start from a different place, but there is usually a shared focus on the legacy processes in their business. What energy providers need to explore is change and new ideas that can run alongside their existing CX processes. The fastest way to change and improve operations is to try something that can be managed independently of the existing processes and then more closely integrated over time.

Embrace Innovation Alongside Existing Processes

This is where a conversation with yoummday can help initiate action on all these points of advice from McKinsey. It is easier to get teams and silos to collaborate if they can see that their existing processes do not need to change dramatically - they can try some new ideas without having to break their regular operations.

The yoummday approach to CX is entirely focused on the customer and can be applied to existing customer service processes as augmentation - not replacement. Therefore, it is easy to experiment with user-centric innovation. Take a particular category of the customer problem and direct all those to the yoummday team, leaving other issues for the existing team. Experiment this way until you can smooth out those more complex journeys. yoummday is naturally agile. By taking a technology-based approach that is entirely modular and can integrate with all major platforms, we allow energy companies to adopt entirely new systems without requiring them to change any infrastructure in their existing technology stack. This is the perfect way to try new ways of working.

The McKinsey advice is clear and simple. Put your customers first and stop using your legacy of systems built decades ago as an excuse for inaction. The yoummday solution allows energy companies to try new ideas and processes without breaking what already works. This facilitates short tests, pilots, and proof of concept engagement as well as allowing a real deployment to take place without needing to break those old systems.

Think about it: When did you last get the chance to innovate without worrying that it will break your existing system?

Now take a look at our website for some ideas and inspiration - then get in touch. If you want to learn more about how to embrace our technology-based approach to CX then please click here to visit our website or get in touch with me directly.

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