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Nigel Broomhall 270005DMNP firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  broomhall nigel bnz ceo utilities energy study global
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Who owns the electricity market? I mean really owns it, attacks it, tears it up like the annoying dog next door that you hate but you know he owns his backyard (and you would run for the hills if it got off its leash)? I don’t know the answer, but I want to.
Nice. Happy. Shiny even. This is how I would explain how I feel about the service I get from the existing energy companies I’ve been a customer with. “Is there anything else I can help you with?” Yes. Yes there is something else you could help me with. I called you and asked for my 15 digit ICP number. You didn’t ask why, you just gave it to me, a smile in your voice, and asked that question. And I can tell that if I said “well actually…” you would have been genuinely surprised. But I don’t blame you oh lovely sweet voiced call center operator. Because I don’t think you’ve got the tools, the insights, or possibly the training to really find out my energy needs.
Now I compare that experience with my local BNZ branch. Having sold my house I was convinced to take an excellent term deposit rate for 5 months. Sadly like a rolling stone, I found a new house to buy all too quickly so I had to break it. The teller lady was lovely. Smiley even, as she broke the term deposit and asked me what I wanted it for. “Why to buy a house.” She then made the bank check out to my lawyer and asked me that question. I said no. Contrast that with my next visit. I broke the remainder of my term deposit and the bank consultant asked why and where it was going. “To my offset mortgage with Kiwibank.” And he was angry. He got even angrier when he asked when I had taken the mortgage out. “Why when I broke my term deposit with BNZ – it should be in the account details.” Fuming. Apparently BNZ invented that product and he would have matched price to keep me, a loyal (?) customer of 20 years. Finally! Someone who actually cares about what they’re selling! And about me!
You see I don’t want shiny happy people for I don’t live in an REM video. I want hungry, informed, not-too-pushy-but-wants-to-prove-to-me-they’re-better-than-the competition people. With the products I need to get the result I want. You see if the energy companies I rang were hungry they would have found out:
Now neither company asked me any questions like this (or even struck up a conversation). You see if they had done this a) I wouldn’t have left the company I was with, or b) I’d be impressed with the company I moved to. Oh and I would have done this:
So no-one owns energy in my view. But someone should. Because in the new era of engagement I want you to.
Now some are trying. You’ve probably found them. They have someone in marketing playing with Twitter, and maybe some tools to flag key words. They have a Facebook page. And when you drop names into these tools these companies react. But of course they can’t do anything because their back end systems are run by IT managers trying to manage and control things – a courageous challenge. And everyone is asking about how to hook up their tablet/iPad/widget to the system in the name of mobility. I contrasted that with the intelligent operations center I’ve seen which integrates social media feeds to identify emergencies, fallen power poles, crime, etc. in real time.
But do I care when I ring up, Tweet, comment on LinkedIn or Facebook that you have multiple systems, both legacy and new? That your system records ICP numbers and can’t link these to customers? Or because of all of the above that the polite young man/woman knocking on my door or calling me hasn’t got my details and my history on hand so really can’t have a decent conversation? No.
Recently my company undertook a global survey of 1,709 CEO’s. Three themes came out from these leaders. One of them was “engaging customers as individuals.” Another was “amplifying innovation with partnerships.” Why are these relevant to my rant? Well I do want to be spoken to like an individual (surprise). And I don’t care who you want to work with to help me – but you will look awesome. You see if you aggregated information from multiple business partners, applied your margin and bundled it together as a relevant (lets call it personalised) package, I would think you were awesome. IT companies do this all the time.
So the winner for me in the future will be the energy company that really acts like they own it. They’re informed, hungry for the business, go the extra mile, and have innovative solutions to my challenges (even if they aren’t their own). And they know everything (well most things) about heat pumps, bar heaters, solar hot water, solar panels – all that stuff. And that’s a company I’d like to work with. In a world where everyone’s trying to be nice, be angry, get fired up, care! And I’ll love you for it.
To do this of course is hard (as is anything worthwhile). It requires an integration of systems, technologies for universal information sharing in real time, customer insight tools, business processes, and smart hungry well trained people. I’m hungry to help you.
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