Customer centric approach in the power sector – possible with EBICOM’s solution
Customer centric - what is it and is there a possibility to use it in the power sector? Short but informative definition found online says that it is a development of positive experience of the customer during the sales and its continuation afterwards. Simple and obvious, isn't it? Being customer centric means, first for all, to change the organisation and the way of thinking about the customer throughout his/her whole lifecycle. It is a kind of project which has to be accordingly planned and implemented. Its most important part are, however, employees who must not only identify themselves with the whole idea, but also implement it in a daily work. All IT systems are only auxiliary tools helping organisations to focus on the customer.
One may more and more often note that actions of electric companies on the Polish market tend to be customer-centric. This is not only a trend, but also a need - on the one hand, because of an open market (as a matter of fact, not entirely) and fight for the customer, and on the other hand, because of the need to take care for the brand. Sometimes companies, in spite of their willingness to be focused on the customer, do not have proper tools in the form of IT systems. Those which the power sector used so far, were developed many years ago and based mostly on distribution elements or master agreements, and were not addressing the customer. Normally, the majority of solutions revolved around delivery points and agreements with a payer as a substitute of the customer. In a broader sense, the customer was something not entirely defined. However, with the passage of time, an important role played by the customer throughout the entire sales process began to be noticed and we wanted to know more and more about him/her, e.g. when and why he/she contacted our company, etc. To achieve this, however, it is necessary to totally change the approach; Jan Kowalski and not a delivery point at ul. Warszawska 5 is now important, even if his property is nothing more than a store, apartment, garage and a plot in Pcim Dolny. One may successfully do so by introducing the CRM system, which is focused on the customer and all its linkages. However, this is not so easy in the power industry as there are many other systems which in one way or another process customer's data, e.g. billing systems, supplier change systems, Call Center and many others. Obtaining a uniform image of the customer and all his activities consist, as a matter of fact, in integrating the above mentioned solutions and introducing the CRM system- probably Contact Center as well - which results in the fact that the these projects are quite complicated and last long.
Our solution - IRIS Multi Energy System - whose main modules are CRM and Billing - was developed from a completely different perspective - a customer-centric perspective. It is the most important element in the whole system and carries information for particular modules, in which all information are gathered, so that its complete image could be created. Our main goal was for the system to reflect the whole lifecycle of the customer in the electric company. After introducing basic data about the customer, the system is to lead its users through particular steps, i.e. preparing an offer, signing an agreement, changing a supplier, collecting measurement data, settling the customer, receipt of payment, keeping the customer's balance or conducting the debt collection process. In addition, all documents generated from the system or sent by it are gathered in the system and assigned to its profile - also outgoing or incoming e-mails and received text messages. All that to build a complete knowledge about the customer and about what is going on with him/her during and after the sales processes. We assumed that the customer's data are to be introduced the system once, and the next steps provide the further data. It affects the ergonomics of using the system and the effectiveness of employees. However, that is not all - the system is also equipped with a complaint handling module keeping implementation deadlines, marketing campaign module, additional product selling module, EBOK module; an e-commerce module will soon be added, enabling agreements to be signed over the Internet. All these elements will allow us to build a comprehensive knowledge about the customer, agreements he/she signed with us, related products, when and why he contacts us, how reliable payer he/she is, the agreement completion date, etc. That knowledge is useful in further processes operated in our system, e.g. to sell new products, extend the existing agreements, regain lost customers. Having relevant information, the users know how to conduct conversations with specific customers, what they can offer, what to report or when to propose a new agreement. Furthermore, the above listed functions enable to handle not only electric power, but also gas and additional products.
All these elements help our customers to create a positive impression on their customers during and after the sales, which, in turn, is already a huge step towards becoming a customer-centric company. Therefore, if you want to become one of such companies, you are welcome to contact us and visit our website. Interesting information about IRIS Multi Energy System is also available on our blog.