EY sponsor Customer Operations in Utilities debate

21 March 2013

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Posted: Tuesday, 23 April 2013 at 4.00pm

Angela Knight, CEO, Energy UK

Angela Knight, CEO, Energy UK

I was delighted to chair the recent 'Customer Operations in Utilities' conference, 21 March, which EY were lead sponsor of. The day demonstrated some very interesting material, the majority of which was action-oriented around "customer" rather than theoretical or dry "operations."

The panel discussion on customer trust between Angela Knight CEO Energy UK, Jo Causon CEO, The Institute of Customer Service and Yunus Ozler, Director of Power & Utilities, Ernst and Young was a great way to start the day.

The debate highlighted the recognition from industry that in the past, consumer trust had been lost due to failures of intent such as mis-selling and complicated tariffs. However, the overall sentiment in the room concluded that it had been failures of execution that had truly let the industry down. The implication was clear, whilst intent can be changed with better governance; execution needed the hard yards of performance improvement to gain back lost consumer trust. Unflattering parallels were made to other industries but the audience was reminded that comparing yourself to your peers in a sector with some of the worst performance is not a sufficient benchmark to change public perceptions.

The day continued with a range of insights on the future of the UK economy, the opportunities presented by data analytics and natural language speech, the challenges of rolling out Smart in Canada and how face to face interactions are vital for recovery.

In summary, although the demands of the customer are more challenging than ever, at its core the answer for retailers is excellence in customer interaction and communication.

Many were left wondering that if the answer is so clear, why does this remain unaddressed?

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