Utility Week

Utility Week 9th January 2015

Utility Week - authoritative, impartial and essential reading for senior people within utilities, regulators and government

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Page 26 of 31

utILIty WEEK | 9th - 15th January 2015 | 27 Customers meters (predominantly energy). All of these require technology enablers. At the other end of the scale from the driv- ers of improved customer centricity are the business areas that compete with customer centricity for priority. We asked survey par- ticipants to rank the most important. In what could be considered a nudge to regulators to allow more investment to improve customer focus, the top ranking answer was financial constraints. Securing investment for any project is a challenge at the best of times, but given the for the final acts of PR14 and ED1 (and deliver T1 and GD1), affordability and funding is going to be even harder to come by. To make matters even more difficult, mak- ing the case for investment in a customer project such as a new customer relationship management tool or contact centre is par- ticularly hard because the expense is inevita- bly incurred long before the benefit accrues. One respondent commented: "The issue with customer centricity is that it makes the justification of long-term investment more difficult to make, in particular where the investment is to maintain or increase future resilience and investment to build long-run future schemes where the costs are felt well ahead of the benefits." New regulatory incentives in the RIIO and PR14 packages are supposed to encourage the outcomes customers want, but that goal is looking vulnerable to the mightier force of a desire to keep bills down. Aside from financial constraints, busi- ness-as-usual operations were considered the second most important competing prior- ity, followed, interestingly given regulatory objectives, by regulatory demands. So, utilities have ambitions for customer centricity, but how exactly do they propose to get from A to B? Wipro and Utility Week asked respondents to identify the areas in their companies that are most in need of attention if customer centricity is to improve. Two standout needs emerged: busi- ness process improvement and technol- ogy improvement. It is encouraging to see specific areas identified as clearly in need of attention if organisations are to improve more generally. It also reinforces the mes- sage revealed earlier in the survey that utili- ties understand that technology enablers sit at the heart of necessary improvements, but that better processes are important too. Information and data improvement was ranked third, with the "soer" issues of corporate culture and staff training ranked fourth and fih. To download the full report, see www.utilityweek.co.uk/downloads Wipro's point of view There is much optimism about where utilities will be in their journey towards being cus- tomer centric in the next year. Everyone believes they will be on top of the game. But is this realistic? The water sector knows what it can do – the water companies know the ground they have covered with SIM in the past three years. Can energy companies really travel more in a single year than water companies have done in three? That appears unlikely. Energy companies must wake up and adjust their ambitions to reflect reality. The question is: how can they speed up change to achieve the best results in the short- est possible time? One of the keys to achieving this will be to seek out partners that can bring their lessons from other sectors and geographies to the UK. What are the most important drivers of customer centricity in your company? please rank the folloWing, With the most important drivers toWards the top. driver average Water electricity gas rank Considered necessary for business success 2.0 2.4 1.7 1.5 Response to customer feedback 2.7 3.3 2.0 2.0 Considered the right thing to do 2.7 2.1 3.4 3.0 Regulatory incentives and penalty mechanisms 4.2 3.3 5.4 4.5 Cost control 4.8 4.7 4.3 5.8 Required by investors 5.2 5.6 4.7 5.5 Government policy 6.4 6.6 6.4 5.8 differential 4.2 4.7 4.4 What are your expectations for hoW customer centric your company Will be in 12 months' time? 1 Very poor 2 3 4 5 Excellent avg: 4.6 38% 62% Which of the folloWing areas Within your company are most in need of attention to improve customer centricity? please rank the folloWing, With the areas that are most in need toWards the top. Business processes Technology Information/data Corporate culture Staff training/contact centres Executive sponsorship 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th average rank 2.3 2.8 3.1 3.5 4.0 5.3 31% 38% 8% 15% 8% 8% 8% 23% 62% 15% 23% 23% 31% 23% 23% 15% 46% 23% 31% 8% 8% 15% 8% 8% 15% 15% 38% 8% 16% 8% Brought to you in association with

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