Chez Comdata, nos conseillers en parlent tous les jours avec des milliers de clients répartis dans plus d’une douzaine de pays. Nous représentons les 10 plus grandes entreprises d’énergie au monde et travaillons avec elles et leurs clients afin de les aider à traverser cette période extrêmement délicate.
La tempête parfaite
Les défis sont nombreux et variés, mais ils se résument à une poignée de problèmes majeurs dont les effets se sont combinés pour créer une tempête parfaite qui s’abat actuellement sur le service client. Depuis ces 12 derniers mois, nous avons constaté que les entreprises du secteur de l’énergie font face à une augmentation de plus de 30 % des demandes de renseignements – et nous nous attendons à ce que ce nombre augmente, car les clients ont plus que jamais besoin d’être accompagnés, ce qui tend à accroître la pression sur le service client.
Qui plus est, selon une étude mondiale, le taux d’attrition enregistré par les entreprises du secteur de l’énergie a augmenté de 50 %. Dans la situation économique actuelle, les clients changent de fournisseurs beaucoup plus facilement qu’avant. Ils sont à l’affût des dispositifs incitatifs ou des remises proposés par les autres opérateurs, qu’il s’agisse d’offres bi-énergie, de tarifs légèrement moins chers, de services de facturation électronique ou même de tickets-services.
Les gouvernements sont également en train d’adopter des lois qui vont directement impacter les interactions entre les clients et les entreprises du secteur de l’énergie. En Espagne, par exemple, une nouvelle loi va interdire l’utilisation de services automatisés pour répondre aux questions des clients dans le domaine de l’énergie. Un conseiller devra obligatoirement répondre à 95 % des appels passés par les clients en moins de trois minutes et le problème devra être résolu dans les 15 jours.
This is all happening at a time when we are still recovering from two years of Covid-19-related disruption. Everything was turned upside down by the pandemic and all of the data many businesses relied on for future guidance was rendered obsolete. With the rise of working from home, consumers interact with brands at unpredictable times and require different information, making it difficult to plan with any real degree of certainty for customer service purposes.
What does it mean for customer service?
These developments clearly impact delivering customer service in what is already a complex industry. Quite understandably, many people are feeling confused about the current situation with energy prices, stressed about how to pay for rising bills, and are looking for answers about what is happening and what they can do.
The constant changes to regulations and bills mean, as well as there being more customer calls, there are also more duplicates. Many people either misunderstand what they are told during the first call or delays to billing mean the information they were given has changed. This has an obvious knock-on effect for first call resolution (FCR) rates.
Similarly, increased call volumes in a complicated sector typically leads to a rise in average call handling (AHT) times. While advisors have to actively listen to callers and provide them with the best possible advice, they also need to be concise to avoid creating large queues and, with that, the even bigger challenge of a feedback loop of stressed customers.
In a nutshell, customers need quick, accurate, and clear support. However, delivering that will require a focus on qualitative KPIs as much as quantitative measures. Customers need to feel supported, listened to, and like they have found the solution to their query – all of which can be a difficult balance to strike.
Comdata’s three-pronged approach
We recognise that everyone involved in this time of crisis needs support – while that obviously means supporting customers who are enquiring about their bills, it also means helping our clients’ teams and our own advisors too. We are doing that by focussing on three areas:
- Empathising and communicating with customers
For customers, we start by recognising the need for empathy. Rising energy costs have immediately followed the Covid-19 pandemic, during which many people lost their jobs and went through financial hardship.
We have trained our teams to show compassion for customers but at the same time be clear and transparent with the options that are in front of them. We have retrained our advisors and equipped them with the knowledge and the ability to ask the correct questions and give people the information they need to reduce their energy consumption without affecting their and their family’s quality of life.
It has completely transformed the role of a customer care advisor. They now have detailed knowledge of household energy saving – not just product and tariffs. Our advisors are also collaborating and consulting directly with clients, telling them what customers need and want.
- Delivering bespoke services
At Comdata we recognise that people of different backgrounds need services tailored to their requirements – this can be particularly true when it comes to customers of different ages. This is why we launched Comdata Generations, an initiative that aims to interact with people across age groups in the way that best suits them.
For instance, our Generation Silver programme provides customer care techniques that are aimed specifically at older people, who may struggle more with understanding their bills and the variety of products available to them. This includes information on government grants across a variety of markets.
- Supporting our teams
Finally, with so much uncertainty, we are aware that our advisors are at risk of stress from dealing with so many calls from anxious customers. That is why we are doing everything we can to support them in their roles.
We are giving them more free time to unwind during shifts but also providing them with gamification platforms to reward and recognise their successes.
The energy crisis looks like it is only going to continue – at least in the near term. Customers will only need more support, but so too are the brands delivering services to them and the advisors handling their queries daily. Having a partner who can bring all those things together will be as important as ever.