Digitization of the customer experience : the new challenge of energy suppliers

The position is still ultra dominant of the two main French suppliers of gas and electricity, ten years after the opening of markets, shows that French consumers are very loyal to the brands historic. Thus, only 18% of them would be willing to change their provider if they felt their customer experience too little custom, against 30% on average in other countries, and up to 43% in the United States. This is what shows in the latest installment of the annual study “the New Energy Consumer,” conducted by the consulting firm Accenture in a score of countries.

A sector forced to align with the standards of the bank and the insurance

Since a few years, and with increasing rapidity, the rise of digital has accustomed consumers to services very custom in sectors such as banking, insurance or telecommunications.

“Until now, energy was a sector relatively protected, recognizes Aurélien Bouriot, executive director in charge of the offer “digital Client” for energy at Accenture. But it is now embedded in a sectoral convergence. ”

In some countries, the customization of the offer is so extensive that suppliers are able to propose prices to their customers depending on their consumption profile. Without going that far, the clients expect more immediacy, advice and integrated services, particularly around the connected home, including, for example, solar panels, storage, smart thermostats, etc, In exchange for which, they are 43% agree to communicate to their suppliers their consumption data.

Conversely, experiments in digital and disappointing create dissatisfaction among the customer and additional costs for businesses. However, in France, only 66% of customers interviewed in the study were able to finalize their approaches in line with their energy suppliers. The users of digital channels lament the difficulty of finding the desired information, the loading time is too long, a customer experience a little fun, insufficiently intuitive and without customization.

However, the end of regulated tariffs of sale, which is accurate for the gas and is emerging to power, could create a context favorable to the emergence of new offerings that better meet these expectations.

Competition increased by the effect of generational

In addition to a growing requirement for their current customers, former monopolists will have to deal with an effect of generation : customers “digital native” and less attached to historic brands. At the same time, they will face the competition of actors from other sectors. We of course think of the GAFA and their ability to collect and process data to build tailored offerings to each consumer profile.

“But it can also be the providers of in-home services (installers boiler for example), vendors of electronic equipment or smart thermostats, Internet operators, actors of the e-commerce…”, said Thierry Mileo, executive director in charge of the sector “Utilities” at Accenture.

All are theoretically able to provide offers around the connected home, integrating an optimization of the energy consumption, their model of pay on the energy savings that they provide to their customers. Meanwhile, consumers judge them to be well positioned on these subjects. Although this is not on this last point that the historical actors are the most threatened, these new competitors may still promote as part of their offers of sourcing more advantageous than the regulated fees.

“The former monopolies have already largely begun their transformation,” observes Thierry Mileo. But they must go further and faster in the digitalization of their customer relationship and their offer. “What,” he recalls, going through a change of internal culture. “

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