The Case for Utility Retailers Increasing Smart-Meter Adoption
I recently joined Hansen from a gas and electricity retailer, where I saw the rollout of smart meters firsthand. In this blog, I will share two important lessons learned about the implications for the customers of utility providers.
Energy suppliers are looking for newly accessible information that promises to make their operations more efficient – and smart meters are the most effective tool to gain high-quality data. These devices record usage information, which is transmitted automatically back to the supplier, delivering vast amounts of valuable data. Thus, the opportunity is in extracting insights in order to deliver better experiences for users.
We know that customer churn is an issue that concerns utility retailers because it can cost five times more to attract a new customer than to retain an existing one. And the main reasons for utility customers to switch providers are cheaper tariffs and better customer service.
Customers can be open to staying with their current energy provider if they get a better customer experience – meaning personalised and tailored services. They desire more transparency and personalisation from utilities, and smart meters are a powerful tool to help meet and exceed customers’ expectations of a digitally driven service provider.
Enabled by smart meters, suppliers can provide a superior customer experience by personalising energy bills to show electric, water, gas or heat usage in the home by the appliance, or by sending alerts during a billing cycle with time to change usage behaviour.
Debt collection is another challenge for a utility company. Every year, retailers fail to collect millions of pounds from customers who do not pay their bills. Therefore, it is critical to have an effective communications platform that maximises customer engagement in debt.
Therefore, another lesson is that the data collected by smart meters can help create better customer communications and improve customer awareness, to anticipate and deal with debt before it becomes insurmountable.
At Hansen, we are aware of the challenges that energy and utilities retailers face, and we have a strong track record implementing systems that help them deliver digitally driven customer experiences. With Hansen MDM, these companies can take advantage of the benefits of advanced metering infrastructure, alongside next-generation automation and analytical data management.
Product and Solutions Marketing Manager, Energy and Utilities