Closure of ‘Future Energy’ underpins the need for a proactive customer communication strategy

Tim Dimond-Brown
Posted by Tim Dimond-Brown Regional VP Sales & Operations North EMEA Monday, February 12, 2018 - 22:29

Tim is a 30 year veteran of the software industry.  He has built a number of European enterprise software businesses, always with a focus on deploying technology and expertise to support customer business outcomes.  Propositions he has supported include data analytics/mining within market and social research, call centre customer experience management, web application performance management and enterprise portfolio management.  In his current role, Tim leads a team advising on how customer communications can be deployed to accelerate the business objectives of enterprises through better management of customer experience.

Customer Experience Update
Closure of ‘Future Energy’ underpins the need for a proactive customer communication strategy

Within the last couple of months there have been multiple news stories of energy providers closing: first Brighter World Energy closed its doors, then Future Energy, went out of business. 

The 10,000 North East and Yorkshire customers of Future Energy will no doubt have been concerned about losing money they had in their account and whether their kitchen lights were about to go out. However, Ofgem was quick to reassure customers they wouldn’t lose power and were protected, and has since given comfort to Future Energy’s customers by appointing ‘Green Star’ to take over those contracts.

These closures will have caused a headache for their customers, but have also had an impact on the rest of the industry. It’s highly likely other energy providers will have been contacted by people reading the news, particularly those who are with other smaller providers, concerned that their own supply could be in jeopardy, or impacted in some kind of knock-on effect. All this clambering for reassurance will have clogged up their call centres, inboxes and mail rooms.

So how can industry players solve this kind of problem? Taking a proactive approach can allow you to get ahead of an issue, like a competitor’s closure, before it balloons out of control. At a top level, this can help both in terms of a company’s image and man hours/financial spend. In practice, this process of informing customers they won’t be impacted can happen in many ways; pinning a tweet at the top of your page potentially engages thousands of customers (and also has the added bonus of acting as a statement on the situation), while the phone line hold music can also include a message reassuring customers they have nothing to worry about, and do not need to speak to an operator.

As technology progresses, it’s easy to imagine companies in the future using automation to help flag and answer these kind of wider issues customers might be worrying about. An AI system which constantly searches for relevant stories to your business and industry could notify teams, allowing them to get ahead of problems, leading to efficiency and improved customer relations.