Edf energy – value belongs to the customer and that means culture change gas 4 less redding ca

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If we look at the energy world, in the UK it has changed dramatically. The base of change has accelerated in the last five years. The shape of competition has changed rapidly. We had 10-15 competitors in the B2C market; today we have about 70 competitors.

We need to meet the objectives of the government and that is a radical step change in the way we address efficiency. We talk a lot about innovation. We are changing very fast. In the past, we could ask to run customer insight workshops into what [customers] wanted. It is not working like this anymore. We need to be much more agile, listen to customers in a very, very different way than we have ever listened before. Digitisation

When we look at Europe, the UK is one of the countries where adults have got the most smart phones. Four in five adults have a smart phone in this country. That means most of them expect to do things on the go. These are the people driving change. When there is a bug, we want the bug fixed immediately. We need the next novelty available. We are driving the change in our customers and their expectations.

Digital technologies allow [customers] to get better value of their assets. It reinforces the opportunity to make local investments…The base of transformation is really, really accelerating year on year. Five years ago, we did not have any smart meters. We now have 11 or 12 million. Solar panels, we did not have any five years ago, one million today. Most solar panels were in the US. Voice assistants like Alexa or Google, we had none even two years ago. There are now about 2 million in domestic houses.

A customer who did not have any of these devices was probably expecting a bill from us. An inaccurate bill, most of the time. We are an industry that builds on estimates of consumption and rarely on actual readings. They have a completely different expectation. A solar panel on the roof, a smart thermostat, a smart meter. They can sometimes use a battery. They talk to us about batteries. Expectations are changing very quickly.

We are going from technology-driven industry to much more customer-centric industry. Technology is obviously very important…as an enabler of our business. We can see customers are defining what they want and defining the way the market is heading. Before, this market was working through central application of generation assets. It is now working in a much different way where customers drive some of the investment and they completely shape the energy scale.

We are seeing a trend of mass customisation of our services. An example is in energy efficiency. What we have traditionally provided is general advice, switching off the lights is one example. Now we can tell customers if they leave their house, you’ve left the heating at maximum and you can take it down a bit and save an amount of money every month.

Customers will act on this insight. It is personalised, it talks to them and talks about them. It allows them to manage their energy bills. We are moving into that space. We are going from linear processes to test and learn…about what customers want. We need to test and learn with them, and design solutions that they want. Value and the customer

It is the customers who will get the value.[If] customers recognise that value goes back to customers and they will get a bit of it, companies will not only retain their customers, but be able to grow. When we look at customers, we need to look at what they want, benefits is one thing. They need to understand the benefits.

What you get is accurate bills, which you never had before. There are benefits that materialise. The problem does not exist anymore. The customer moves into energy efficiency advice and there are benefits associated with smart meters very quickly.

We are not in an incremental world anymore. We are in a world of constant transformation. The way I describe it to my teams is to tell them that we can no longer focus on what to do. It is not the what to do that matters, it is the how to do it. The only way we can be equipped to face uncertainty and strive in this world is to change behaviours, culture and be ready to address the next problem. We cannot know what the next problem will be. We need to recognise that we don’t know.

To do that, we need to change our culture and change the way we interact with customers. Customers expect sympathy from us, they expect us to be diligent in dealing with their problems and expect us to be trustworthy, transparent. We can’t be easy to deal with them if we are not simple and agile. It is about aligning the culture inside that is necessary to deliver on our customers expectations outside.

I was with TCS months ago in India and they told me they had half of their workforce trained on digital technologies. I wish I had that in my business, but I don’t. We need to be able to work with others to leveraged capabilities that others have and be able to develop ahead of us. Partnerships are absolutely key with start-ups, with partners, with supply chain.

It is about creating the space to enable risk-taking on a small scale. The cost of failure is low. You can come up with innovations, but also affect change in the business and help others in the business become more familiar with risk-taking. We are starting to see the cultural shift in the business. People are more comfortable to work in a collaborative manner and take more risks. It is a long journey. My take