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Utilities B2B challanges


The energy market is having a difficult time. The number of people switching their energy suppliers was already up to 2.6 million in 2017 and will continue to grow in the years to come. In addition, more and more consumers are turning into energy producers themselves. And on top of that, competition keeps increasing.

1. Customers are not loyal

In recent years, the number of energy switchers has increased from 2.2 million to 2.6 million with price being the main reason. Not only these low prices, but also the marketing fees for bringing in new customers are rising. It’s therefore important for energy suppliers to focus more on the current customers. You may have to ask yourself whether you want to target the annual switchers as customers or whether they are just an extra. The first initiatives are already being taken by rewarding existing customers for their loyalty. But that’s not enough. Make sure current customers get other types of offers and make it as easy as possible for them to stay with you. Ensure optimal customer convenience and monitor risk moments.

2. Many different systems

Organisations that increasingly focus on customer loyalty benefit from a clear customer profile. Unfortunately, this is still missing at many energy suppliers. Herein lies a challenge to drastically reduce the number of systems in use and look for an all-in-one system. Not only does this have advantages for the supplier as relevant offers can be made, employees also benefit from this well-organized box of information. This is the only way to proactively engage in customer contact, communicate with the right insights, and realize a first-time fix. This will not only yield happy customers, but also happy employees!

3. Missing the moments that make the difference

Customers are only having a few contact moments a year with their supplier: when the monthly amount is debited and when the annual contract expires. These are not particularly positive moments for the customer. It’s up to you as an energy supplier to find moments where the customer can be proactively approached with, for example, assistance with saving or with signalling deviations. This requires smart technologies such as IoT and artificial intelligence with machine learning.

4. Distinguishing newcomers

Relative newcomers such as Greenchoice and Robinenergie are positioning themselves in a unique way and with success. For example, switchers are increasingly opting for green energy generated in the Netherlands. This percentage rose from 8 in 2015 to 21 in 2017. Whether you are a discounter, a newcomer or a veteran, you should determine your unique position in the playing field and implement this in all your communication with customers.

5. Embracing the prosumer

Not only do switchers more often opt for green energy, more and more consumers and organizations are also starting to generate this power themselves. Many of the solar panels that are placed are so-called ghost panels. In Rotterdam, grid operator Stedin is not aware of a quarter of all solar panels. Besides potential safety issues for the grid, there’s also another challenge here. Customers don’t feel responsible, or it’s not easy enough to report this. Energiedirect has chosen a smart approach to this by helping to install and release solar panels. This responds perfectly to the needs of the customers, and it’s a way to create a bond with them.

There are temporary solutions for some of these problems. New systems, the use of new technologies or the development of apps for customers. But it’s a fact that the energy market is changing and only the strongest will survive. It is difficult to determine where you will be in 5 years’ time in such an uncertain market. Collaborating, innovating, experimenting and having a heart for the customer are the things that will turn your organization into a winner. And CRM Partners is happy to help you!


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