New market entrants, expansion of existing players and shrinking margins together with liberalization and regulation of the energy sector results in increased competition. As customer is being offered price as main reason for change this puts growing pressure on costs and product innovation whereas churn rates still increase.

Customers centric approach is crucial for the future success of the utilities’ marketing and sales departments. One of the essential building blocks to achieve this goal is a tailored customer relationship management (CRM) approach that combines state-of-the-art technology (e.g. big data analysis, automated but personalized contact management) and a strictly customer focused mind-set in strategy as well as in organization and processes. Following this approach, optimal services are designed and future customer requirements are anticipated. This in turn provides customers with visible, tangible values and generates long-term , profitable customer relationships and improved revenue and cost positions for the sales departments.

It is going to be a long and difficult path until the necessary mind-set and technology is established in the energy sector, that is the result of a BearingPoint study that involved more than a hundred German utility companies and approximately 1,000 individual consumers. Neither is there a high awareness for energy supply, energy prices and as well as innovative solutions for energy efficiency at the customers. Nor are utility companies themselves satisfied with their customer relation management approaches and systems.

The need for action is obvious! For the coming year utilities’ sales and marketing functions are advised to:

  1. … adjust their CRM approaches and systems value-oriented!
  2. … benefit from focused cost optimization based on the CRM insights!
  3. … integrate the CRM processes in the overall process landscape in a smart manner!
  4. … ensure highest data quality for meaningful insights from the CRM system!
  5. … use agile and iterative project management methods for their CRM projects!
  6. … benefit from the experience of other (more mature) sectors and markets!

Ulrik Zornow

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