After working within the utilities industry for several years, I have come across challenges that many regulated organisations face when trying to manage and deliver changes in the fast moving world of digital.

In an industry where it is hard to differentiate yourself, such as utilities, a great digital customer experience can be the difference between retaining a customer and losing a customer. Customers have an expectation that they will be able to sign up to products online, manage their account online and do all of this without any instabilities in performance. If this expectation isn't met, customers will become frustrated, have a negative brand perception and may eventually be inclined to move their business elsewhere.  

Within the utilities industry, there is often the added pressure of having the finger pointed when profits are posted or when prices go up. Utilities companies have a responsibility to educate their customers about any changes taking effect and providing digital functionality for customers to engage with can enable a deeper understanding of prices, products and how the customer can make savings.  

There are several key enablers that clients can utilise to help manage digital change and improve digital customer experiences:

Managing digital:

A centralised management structure will help increase internal focus on driving the digital channel forward and will set up the framework for investment.

  • Adopting agile processes in the digital team will help push basic content live quickly (a frequent demand) and will service many internal stakeholder requirements.
  • A close relationship between the digital contact centres and the digital management teams also builds closer working relationships. Measures should be taken to bring relevant teams closer together in terms of location (i.e. product managers and CMS authors) to enable quicker change.

Improving customer experiences:

Intelligent cross sell/up sell: tailoring web experiences for your customer-base and for future prospects is crucial to delivering a personalised experience.

  • Becoming an analytics-driven organisation: understand customer journeys, take time to analyse drop-off points and use analytics to justify change to senior stakeholders.
  • Focus on optimisation: don't just focus on the things you have to put on the website. Set up the digital team to have an 'optimisation' stream with product managers feeding regular change in through sprint cycles using multivariate testing. This will become the innovative digital team that internal stakeholders want to take advantage of.

Following these key principles will put organisations in a good position to deliver great customer-centric digital experiences. Using agile delivery as a change method will enable a prioritised focus to website change but a process is certainly required to bypass release dates to push minor content changes live quickly. 

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.