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FEATURE DATA COLLECTION MANAGEMENT


DON’T WASTE YOUR ENERGY ON MEANINGLESS MESSAGES


The intelligent use of customer data is just one way that energy management companies can deliver relevant, engaging messages and ultimately enhance the customer journey. Stephen Lester, propositions director at Paragon Customer Communications, discusses the cutting-edge technologies that are transforming communication between organisations and their customers while reducing waste and energy usage


T


he introduction of the GDPR in May 2018 brought the way organisations use and store


their customer data into sharp focus. The eye- watering fines awaiting businesses that allow a serious data breach to occur have prompted a large-scale review of how companies collect, store and utilise their customer data. As organisations look to formulate an efficient yet compliant strategy for making best use of customer data, they may find the collection and management of information is time- consuming, proving a burden to those without clear objectives and an effective process. However, reduced costs, increased efficiency and improved customer outcomes are all achievable through a smarter use of information.


TAKE IT PERSONALLY The latest study from the Institute of Customer Service noted that levels of satisfaction had dipped slightly across every sector for the first time in three years, reaffirming the importance of managing customer information and the impact this can have on trust and reputation. The 2018 report identified the capacity to


combine people, technology and processes to offer accurate, relevant information and empathetic advice as the defining tests of excellent customer experience. This underlines how the responsible, legally


compliant use of customer data can achieve significant benefits for both organisations and individuals. As a customer, who wouldn’t prefer to receive a personal, message, about something that matters to you, in a preferred format, at a time when it’s convenient to read it? Equally, for a business, there’s nothing to dislike about the ability to reduce costs while improving efficiency. With this in mind, demand is growing


throughout the energy sector for smart technologies that can extract the most value from data held, particularly in light of a rapid increase in digitisation as more devices than ever connect to the smart grid. Tools can be deployed that not only collect


“Demand is growing throughout the energy sector for smart technologies that can extract the most value from data held...” arincredigitisation as


more devices than ever connect to the smart grid...”


and assess information but are capable of evolving that knowledge to make it relevant to individual customers. Artificial intelligence, email coding and interactive formats can, for example, be used not only to pinpoint preferences such as the time a customer is most likely to interact with a message, and which channel is most likely to elicit a response, but to formulate engaging, personalised messages. The ability to respond swiftly to customers if


issues occur, in addition to providing timely feedback on complaints or queries, are vital elements of providing excellent customer service. Adopting the right innovations can transform an organisation’s decision-making, enhancing customer relationships and creating new opportunities. Not only that, personalising the communications process can achieve impressive cost savings. Introducing a streamlined process reduces waste and ultimately results in a positive environmental impact. Customers who may be unlikely to open, let


alone respond to, paper documents can instead receive an email or text; others with the time and inclination to read and digest printed communications can do so at their leisure without the need for needlessly spending resources on SMS messages sent to a mobile phone that is rarely even charged.


ENHANCED UNDERSTANDING The latest innovations can be used to ‘listen’ to data, analyse customer behaviour then deliver the most relevant, engaging messages with the


/ ENERGYMANAGEMENT


aim of cementing longer and better relationships with customers. Software can be used to identify patterns


within customer data, which can be used to maximise campaign effectiveness. This achieves a better understanding of the possible outcomes of different campaigns, improving budgeting and forecasting based on predictive models. The result is that organisations glean a better


understanding of their customers, which in turn allows them to achieve more effective engagement, the appropriate customer experience and the increased prospect of delivering the required outcomes. Needless to say, such technology comes with a


price tag attached. However, it is not always necessary to make a significant capital investment to reap these energy-efficient benefits. Specialist communications providers have access to the very latest innovations in addition to the expertise to plan and manage communications, making budgets stretch further.


CUSTOMER SUPPORT At Paragon Customer Communications, for instance, the company has invested millions of pounds to support energy companies integrate offline and digital communications into one customer journey. This in turn enables them to meet digitalisation targets while ensuring messages remain relevant to individual customers and legislatively compliant. Companies can adopt these innovations to


redefine their entire customer relationship experience, maximising data capture, analysing customer behaviour and delivering the most relevant, engaging messages. Only through analysing various touchpoints


can investment companies gain a better understanding of their customers’ expectations and requirements, allowing them to respond proactively and in the most relevant manner.


Paragon Customer Communications www.paragon-europe.com T: (0) 207 601 6270


ENERGY MANAGEMENT | WINTER 2018/19 9


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