In utilities we trust?

Winning back customer trust

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In order to win back customer trust, energy providers must prove they have the right intent, and the capability to deliver in three core areas:

Deliver on expectations in every customer interaction

Customers need to trust that every interaction with their energy retailer will produce consistent, predictable results. They want queries and complaints resolved swiftly, to know that bills will be correct, and that processes will be simple and smooth.

For energy retailers to build a successful track record and confidently deliver against these expectations, they need the right capabilities in place throughout the customer journey. Capability gaps will be different for every provider, and each will have to review and change its operating model accordingly.

Openness and transparency in every interaction

Many people have direct experience of unclear, complex communication from their suppliers. Industry processes, limited consumer understanding, and mandated language don’t help, but in an era of distrust, a failure to communicate clearly (i.e., the inability to overcome these hurdles) is assumed to be the result of poor intent.

Whether communication is around a new tariff, price rises, a smart metering offer, or energy efficiency, it must be clear and easy to understand.

Openness is the only antidote to distrust and conspiracy theories. Explaining that staff illness is causing a delay in answering calls is better than a customer assuming poor intent; or that their provider just can’t be bothered.

Proactively explaining to the public that a financial loss is tolerated because of a company’s long-term perspective is better than an uninformed customer believing profits have been shifted around the value chain.

Empower customers to make their own decisions

The digital and social media environment in which many customers now operate gives energy retailers a unique opportunity to offer open access to data, bills, prices and propositions.

Retailers should focus digital activity on providing tools that can really help their customers make informed decisions and take control of energy usage and costs.

The smart metering rollout also gives them a chance to provide customer benefits, new propositions better suiting their needs, and the transparency which will allow them to understand the benefits of a trusted supplier.

In summary, with positive intent and flawless execution, retailers can regain customer trust, but many still have a lot to do to show their intent in every interaction, and rebuild their brands as trusted organisations.

EY energy retail customer journey model

EY energy retail customer journey model

EY energy retail customer journey model ×