Getting Utility Sales Right the First Time

Getting sales agreements right the first time is a huge concern for any sales team. For utility companies, making sure that every “i” is dotted and that every “t” is crossed in accordance with local regulations regarding energy sales is especially important.

For the first time in over a decade, the largest energy providers in the UK are re-entering the market through face to face selling channels. While these providers are taking their first cautious steps back into this world, other more experienced players are also planning to re-enter the field sales domain following the halt caused by the pandemic.

For both types of providers, ensuring that the people representing you in the field are not only complying but delivering an exceptional experience is key to not only avoiding any complaints or challenges but also to win over new customers and capitalise on the very real and lucrative opportunities available.

With this in mind, here are some considerations for your business leaders:

Field sales historically has had a high churn rate, in some markets field sales reps will often migrate to the energy provider offering the cheapest product to the market. As many field sales reps are paid on commission only structures, they go where they are most likely to be successful and in turn, get paid. While price is hugely important, the level of service offered by an organisation is also key, especially considering the number of cheaper, smaller energy providers going bust in recent years due to their mismanagement of customer needs.

Training:

When you are putting a sales rep in front of a customer, they need to not only have detailed knowledge of your products and services but also of the value you offer customers that include and go beyond prices, such as service and overall customer experience. This puts a higher demand on the sales reps to develop their soft skills. Developing these skills and creating the type of customer experience that delivers at every interaction takes time and consideration.

Creating a training plan that not only offers upfront training and onboarding, but also offers continuous learning, just-in-time learning and assessment and can be delivered to the rep on their device just before and after they start selling, makes the information easily digestible, keeps the material fresh in their mind, and allows sales reps to apply their learning immediately with the results tracked.

Quality Assurance:

Inaccurate sales numbers cause headaches for both sales reps and business leaders, especially if there are improvements that can be made to your process to shore up those challenges. If there are challenges with a sale, such as incomplete or inaccurate information, or you are an organisation that does a separate follow-up to every customer post-sale, all of this equals more time and more cost, more time to rework or validate a sale and more cost both direct and opportunity costs.

To mitigate this costly consequence your organisation can implement a digital sales solution with the ability to highlight the gaps in your sales process - and add checks, validations and automated workflows to your sales process. This takes the guesswork out of selling, giving the sales reps a more accurate view of their sales commission and providing you with more accurate data to make decisions and improve your process overall.

To complement this from a quality assurance perspective, your customer can review and sign off on the sale on their device, confirming the legitimacy of the sale. You can automatically follow up with a customer satisfaction survey to ensure the rep has completed their duties as expected.

If you are embarking on a new or emboldened sales effort we’d love to hear what approaches you are taking to getting it right, the first time.

Schedule a sales MOT with the team today


How Digital Sales Solutions Open Doors for your Best People

Every sales team has its own stars. The men and women who seem to have a superhuman ability to close a deal. Who are performing head and shoulders over their peers.

But often the trouble with these A-List types is that they know it. They can be brash, in-your-face, and usually a bit of a lone wolf. And while they might not be popular with their colleagues, they’re winning – and as their manager, the last thing you want to do is stand in their way.

But this creates its own set of headaches, doesn’t it?

While you might not want to irritate your top performers with a quiet chat about ethics and style, you also need to make sure that they don’t overstep the mark. You want sales, not lawsuits. And your CEO is hardly going to thank you if topping your targets is followed by a barrage of customer complaints.

So how do you lay down the letter of the law without becoming the enemy in the eyes of your team?

The simplest answer is this: use your systems to say it for you.

Deploying a digital data collection system as part of your field sales solutions allows you to automate the sales fulfilment process. You can set things up so that certain compliance boxes have to be ticked and no one can go ahead and skip a section or leave out vital information that must be communicated to the customer.

Rather than employees getting frustrated or resentful that you’re grilling them on their sales technique or drumming in things they already know, they just need to follow the structure laid out by your Field Force Automation solution. No arguments, no excuses and, if you do it right, a faster and more efficient process that helps everyone to do their job better.

Why? Because automatic data capture manages the workflow for your team, cutting down paperwork and duplicated effort and speeding up the sales process. Plus, rolling out a mobile solution helps you to allocate leads quickly and fairly, even while sales reps are out in the field making door-to-door sales.

It ensures that everyone has a constant stream of work and the chance to hit their targets, with no delays or hurdles to slow down your best performing staff.

No more wasted time while you argue with your team about doing things the “right” way, and less risk of killing the enthusiasm of top sales agents bursting with initiative. More control – with less micromanaging. Who wouldn’t like the sound of that?

After all, young, ambitious workers want nothing more than having the space and freedom to perform at their best, supported by time-saving tech – especially when this can be access on their own phones and devices - without having to squander time and resources on tasks and processes with no clear purpose, when they could be out there making money.

If you want your sales stars to be mega-productive and efficient, you need to give them tools to succeed and then get out of their way. Field Sales Solutions give you the perfect way to do that – without the risks to your business.

The added bonus is you can start to track what they are doing differently, that’s working. This insight can lead to changes in how you train and support the rest of your team, so everyone can be lifted up on the wave of success.

Want to find out more about how Field Sales Solutions can help your team surpass sales targets in a shorter time, while improving their level of service? Contact our team of specialists today.


QA Engineer

About PSI

Founded in 2004, PSI Mobile is dedicated to the innovative use of mobile technologies that enhance data-driven decision making. Our solutions improve efficiencies, provide greater control of business processes, and enhance our partners’ ability to exceed expectations in 40 countries around the world. 

PSI Mobile’s flagship software platform, Fusion, is a one-stop-shop of your application needs and has been developed through 10 years of collaboration with thought leaders in the utility, telecommunications and public service sectors. Fusion combines all of the potential of mobile and cloud technology with the security and track record of an application that is proven in the field. 

 

Job Description

As Quality Assurance Engineer you will work within the development team on PSI’s Fusion Application Platform written in Angular, Node, MongoDB and Ionic. You will contribute as a key member of the team in analysing, defining, planning and executing / delivering test strategies, plans and scripts. Involvement in regression, migration, and integration testing. Continuously improving testing processes / protocols, tracking defects, reporting on status and managing relevant stakeholders.

 

Responsibilities

  • Analyse and understand feature requirements to identify testing scope. Work with the development team and product owners to ensure that sprint stories have clear acceptance criteria. Provide test estimates and detailed test schedules as part of sprint planning.
  • Concentration on both functional and non-functional testing, including performance, reliability, and user experience.
  • Develop tests from unit/API to end-to-end/UI levels which can be executed in isolation or within CI/CD pipelines.
  • Execute on test strategies, plans and automated tests to ensure that sprint goals are achieved.
  • Review the existing test infrastructure for test and quality coverage and develop and improve accordingly.
  • Clear understanding of escalation process on high impact issues. Lead/participate in defect triage discussions internally. Accurate tracking and monitoring of defects through to closure.
  • Ensure quality standards are always maintained.
  • Mentoring and supporting of junior QA resources.

 

Skills & Expertise

  • Minimum 3-5 years QA and software testing experience.
  • Exposure to test estimation and test planning in Agile environment.
  • Exposure to Cypress automation framework and hands-on test automation development experience.
  • Experience with CI/CD, namely Jenkins and associated tools (e.g., Git).
  • Exposure to Mongo and SQL server databases desirable.
  • Proactive, hardworking individual with excellent attention to detail.
  • Willingness to collaborate, embrace change and improve processes.
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, documentation and reporting skills.

 

Education & Qualifications

  • Computer science/Information technology related degree desirable. 
  • ISTQB Certified (minimum Foundation level) or similar desirable but not required. 

 

Remuneration

  • Competitive salary & package dependent on experience. 

 

Locations

Calmount Park, Ballymount, Dublin.

 

Contact

Please send your CV and cover note to info@psi-mobile.com


Senior Angular Node Developer

About PSI

Founded in 2004, PSI Mobile is dedicated to the innovative use of mobile technologies that enhance data-driven decision making. Our solutions improve efficiencies, provide greater control of business processes, and enhance our partners’ ability to exceed expectations in 40 countries around the world. 

PSI Mobile’s flagship software platform, Fusion, is a one-stop-shop of your application needs and has been developed through 10 years of collaboration with thought leaders in the utility, telecommunications and public service sectors. Fusion combines all of the potential of mobile and cloud technology with the security and track record of an application that is proven in the field. 

 

Job Description

We are currently seeking a skilled and talented Angular & Node developer to join our development team in Dublin to further design, develop and scale our product suite. You will be involved in  the development of  PSI’s Fusion Application Platform in Angular, Node and Ionic. There will also be the opportunity for you to play a role in defining the future product direction of the company at an exciting time of expansion and growth. 

 

Responsibilities

  • Work with Product Management to devise and define innovative products, applications and solutions. 
  • Development of modular, testable and scalable software components within the new Fusion Application Platform. 
  • Working as a member of a team or on their own to deliver high quality and maintainable software solutions, to set deadlines. 
  • Estimate level of effort, evaluate and research new options of similar technology and offer suggestions to improve processes.
  • Participate in design and development workshops to define new features and products. 
  • Code optimization improvements, maintenance and refactoring of existing systems. 
  • Contribute to team process improvements, industry best practice and principles. 

 

Skills & Expertise

  • 3+ years Angular development experience. We are particularly interested in looking for Angular 10+ experience. 
  • Significant Backend development experience using Node and Javascript. 
  • Strong familiarity with web frontend techniques (HTML, Typescript, CSS). 
  • Understanding of non-relational databases such as MongoDB. 
  • Familiarity with deployment, monitoring debugging and testing of Angular applications. 
  • Experience with Ionic a bonus. 
  • Experience using Git/GitHub and related source control environments in a distributed team environment. 
  • Familiarity with RESTful and SOAP services. 
  • Comfortable working in Windows/Unix/Linux environments, and a deep understanding of hardware architecture/private Cloud infrastructures and deployment methodologies a must. 
  • Understanding of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery via Jenkins. 
  • Excellent analytical and problem solving skills – you should be able to propose several viable solutions to complex problems and be able to evaluate the best alternative and estimate the work required. 
  • You can quickly grasp and learn new technologies and techniques, and can demonstrate you strive to keep up to date with an ever changing industry. 
  • You have excellent communication skills showing a capability to make clear and meaningful contributions to white board design discussions and offer innovative solutions to complex problems, as well as contribute insights from past experiences.  
  • You are able to offer concise and regular updates on progress and can highlight issues that might affect progress in order to allow preventative action to be taken. 
  • You help shape the process as well as the product; assist in refining our approach to development by continually reviewing it and offering innovative ideas to improve it. 
  • Excellent written, spoken and interpersonal communication skills. 

 

Education & Qualifications

  • BS/MS in Computer Science/related technical discipline OR equivalent experience. 

 

Remuneration

  • Competitive salary & package dependent on experience. 

 

Locations

Calmount Park, Ballymount, Dublin.

 

Contact

Please send your CV and cover note to info@psi-mobile.com


3 Ways Energy and Telco Providers can Safely Reap the Rewards of Door-to-Door Sales

I’m sure you’ve heard stories of rogue energy and telco sales reps defying company rules and government guidance to gain access to people’s homes. In an effort to persuade residents to switch providers, rogue reps are using misleading sales techniques, not wearing face masks, and ignoring social distancing mandates. Sales code of conduct breaches have always been unacceptable, but today the potential ramifications are significantly greater. With their reputation at stake, many energy and telco providers have begun to wonder whether they can still benefit from door-to-door sales.

 

The future of field sales is here

While rogue reps are a cause for the provider to take immediate action, the truth of the matter is that pounding the pavement still produces impressive results. In fact, we’ve been monitoring the situation and have determined that energy and telco field sales delivered, on average, 2-5 sales per day per rep prior to the pandemic. Today with more people at home field sales reps are producing 30% more in sales! With many pandemic restrictions still in place, you may be wondering what’s the secret to improving door-to-door sales.

To minimise risk for both the customer and the rep, keep their business compliant, and set themselves up for long-term success, providers are adopting the following three tactics.

 

Tactic 1: Using remote recruiting and training for sales staff

The first step in mitigating customer risk is to minimise potential risks for your sales reps. In a field where there’s a high turnover rate, you need to keep the recruiting and training processes in constant motion. Even before the pandemic, many recruitment interviews took place without the candidate stepping foot in your facility. Covid-19 gave interviews via video conferencing an extra push, and this method of screening applicants will most likely continue – even when the pandemic becomes a distant memory. A Gartner survey of 334 HR leaders confirmed the rise in remote interviews, revealing that 86% of organisations are conducting virtual interviews.

When it comes to training, this necessary onboarding and ongoing activity are both time-consuming and costly – but it doesn’t need to be. In-house remote training, as well as video training modules, provides your sales reps with the tools they need more efficiently and cost-effectively. Using digital training methods allows reps to do ‘just-in-time’ learning, enabling them to immediately apply skills and knowledge just learned, which of course reinforces positive behaviour. By swapping in-person training with digitised sessions, you’ll gain a better return on your training investment, while providing your reps with the learning materials they need, when they need them.

 

Tactic 2: Adopting technology to manage processes and ensure compliance

Do you know what your reps are doing when they’re in the field trying to make a sale? Chances are the answer is no. While the majority of your sales reps are conscientious people who follow the rules, we need to be mindful of the rogue reps that’ll throw caution to the wind in order to make a sale.

Keeping your reputation intact and ensuring you’re always in compliance doesn’t have to be an ongoing hurdle. There’s never been a better time to incorporate technology that will transform your processes from administrative-heavy everyday tasks into automated solutions. With the right software, you’ll get ‘track and trace’ applications which will increase the support you provide to your field staff while ensuring they are always in compliance with company rules and government guidance.

 

Tactic 3: Strengthening the sale with contactless delivery 

Whether providing prospects with brochures, videos, price comparisons or sales contracts, energy and telco companies are migrating to contactless delivery of virtually everything – giving their customers peace of mind, while reducing costs. As the pandemic drove home, people want to interact with sales reps in a digital manner.

Once a prospect decides to become a customer, energy and telco providers are now enhancing the sale by delivering a summary of the order, the terms and conditions of the sale, and the contract directly to the customer's mobile phone. This last step in the customer’s sales journey is simply accomplished by sending the customer a link via a text message, which provides a summary of the sale for the customer to review and sign, turning the entire ordering process into a contactless sale.

 

“The ability for the potential customer to review the sales with the rep and complete on their own device adds to the robustness of the sale as the customer feels a sense of ownership.” (Mike Cody, Head of Sales, Iberdrola Ireland)

 

How to take your door-to-door sales efforts to the next level

Compliance is essential to keep your business financially healthy. And doing this requires a software solution that enables you to manage processes, track sales, and quickly change as the industry evolves.

PSI’s Fusion Platform provides a wealth of business intelligence that enables you to:

  • - Analyse sales data
  • - Understand what is happening in the field (which often results in more sales)
  • - Manage and revise customer journeys
  • - Manage and follow up on leads
  • - Establish and improve upon processes

With leading-edge technology and best-in-class after-sales support, we’ve been helping energy and telco companies better manage their day-to-day sales processes for 15 years. And what we’ve learned during that time is – with the right processes and the right technology, providers can safely reap the benefits of door-to-door sales.

 

But don’t take our word for it… 

"When we initially start selling on the doors it was a manual process but the business was being exposed by reps misselling, we needed to put a rigid structure and processes in place to mitigate this risk. This structure ended up making a huge difference, from simple things like not having to decipher bad handwriting to less broken sales, with a limited risk of misselling.

Over time both the doors and the contact centre were both put through this process and given manners which led to it becoming a golden standard. We utilised the PSI solution including back-end automation and checks to improve the quality of our sales process, the data captured, and how we behaved in the field.

From the regulators perspective, we went from being the worst energy company to best in class for the last 6 years running. We are given as the example of what should be done to the other energy companies.”

- SSE (a PSI customer for 12 years)

 

Reach out to our team to learn how we can help you improve compliance and boost sales.


Turn Unexceptional Customer Service Into Exceptional Customer Experiences

Customer expectations are constantly changing and many companies are struggling to keep pace with the evolving needs of consumers. Although some industries do better than others at delivering great customer experiences, in general, there’s room for improvement across the board.

Customer experience (CX) affects all industries, however, energy and telco companies are in a unique situation as they interact with their customers on a daily basis, which puts additional pressure on them to achieve customer experience goals. A recent Accenture Research Report adds to this by saying, ... an experience renaissance is afoot ˗ one that is galvanising companies to push beyond the CX philosophy and organise the whole business around the delivery of exceptional experiences. With an increasing number of organisations developing innovative solutions to exceed customer expectations, energy and telco companies need to step up their game and foster customer-centricity across the entire organisation.

 

Poor Customer Experiences: Triggers and Outcomes 

What constitutes a customer experience, whether good, bad, or mediocre? Whilst there’s not a single answer, the one thing that you can be certain of is that customers now have higher expectations than ever before.

When it comes to customer expectations and experiences, statistics are plentiful. To help bring to light the pivotal role customer experience has on your business, we’ve gathered key statistics to help illustrate expectations from the viewpoint of consumers.

The results of delivering poor customer experiences can’t be underestimated. Not only can it result in churn and diminished profitability, but regulatory fines are a real possibility, as well as the potential to harm your brand.

Now that we have a better understanding of the potential outcomes when customers are provided a poor experience, let’s take a deep dive into some of the causes. A recent study conducted by PagerDuty and Dimensional Research determined the following as the 7 key barriers to providing a great customer experience.

 

  1. Increasingly complex IT environments - 64%
  2. Increasing customer expectations around convenience and performance - 44%
  3. Hiring and retaining talent with the right skills - 40%
  4. Difficulty prioritising issues - 35%
  5. Inability to innovate quickly - 33%
  6. Siloes and bottlenecks between internal teams - 26%
  7. Increasing competitive pressures - 25%

 

In addition to the above, many energy and telco organisations are grappling with disconnected systems, complicated internal processes, cumbersome compliance processes, and an inability to keep the customer at the centre of the journey. With a number of potential issues hindering your ability to deliver exceptional customer service, you may wonder what the experience looks like through the eyes of your customers.

Let’s imagine for a minute that you are grappling with disconnected systems, complicated processes, and technology and tools that don't provide the information field reps require when they need it. While this is day-to-day life for you and your business, your customers see something else. It’s important to remember that customers don’t have a looking glass to the inner workings of your organisation ˗ they only see the aftermath of this situation which may include:

  • Repeatedly being asked for data and content that you already possess.
  • An endless stream of transfers where they need to repeat information previously provided.
  • Processes that are confusing and overwhelming, resulting in stopping the transaction.
  • Apologies from field service reps and customer service reps for the way they have to handle the transaction.
  • The inability of your salespeople to effectively provide customer guidance.

When bad experiences happen, how does your organisation handle customer complaints? If you're like 44% of UK businesses, you’re still relying on manual processes such as spreadsheets that don’t provide the swiftness needed to react promptly. With more than half of the people around the globe believing that companies need to take action on feedback provided by customers, it’s time for energy and telco providers to transform the experiences they are providing to customers.

 

Transforming the Customer Experience

When consumers were asked what impacts their level of trust with a company, offering excellent customer service is ranked number one. And around the globe, 96% of consumers say customer service is an important factor in their choice of loyalty to a brand.

What does it take to deliver the exceptional experiences customers demand? Customers don’t want the hassle of trying to figure out what needs to be done and how. Nor do they want or have the time to go through disparate processes and workflows. Customers want interactions that are easy to understand, easy to use and instructions that are simple to follow. Giving customers the experiences they crave requires automation, seamless integration, natural workflows, and data that is richly populated.

To begin the process of turning unexceptional customer service into exceptional customer experiences, there are some steps that you can take immediately. Based on our extensive experience, we recommend that you:

  • Implement customer journey mapping into your customer service processes. The mapping should include each point where your potential customer interacts with your business, e.g. signing up, address changes, billing, complaints, service, etc. Once the mapping is complete, be sure to review it for interaction flows, expected customer experiences, and how the customer will be able to engage in two-way communication with your business.
  • Populate rich data into processes for customer or prospect engagements, such as information provided to the field or telesales rep that pertains to the interaction and display known information on the application form.
  • Develop intuitive and natural workflows.
  • Make initial field sales rep training and ongoing courses a mandatory requirement and easy to digest and apply to the work they are doing

Providing exceptional customer experiences isn’t a one-and-done initiative, it’s a journey that you’ll continually revisit as customer expectations continue to develop. One thing is certain, providing customers with traditional experiences is no longer enough.

When it comes to your ability to compete, the customer experience is increasingly becoming a differentiating factor. According to Gartner89% of businesses expect to compete mainly on customer experience and organisations that take customer experience seriously will stand out from the noise and win loyal customers.

 

Improving the Customer Experience Starts with a Single Step

As the Chinese proverb so articulately states, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” the journey to delivering exceptional customer experiences also begins with a single step.

As the leading provider of sales technology for energy and telco providers, we have an intimate understanding of what it takes to move the customer experience needle in these industries. Whether that's getting started with a minimum viable product (MVP) in order to plug the most critical sales gaps or longer-term plans to create an end-to-end exceptional customer experience strategy, with us helping them every step of the way.

Our ability to put you on the path to delivering exceptional customer experiences doesn’t end there. Are you saddled with legacy systems that are resulting in disconnected systems, processes, and people? Replacing these systems can be cost-prohibitive. With PSI, you don’t need to. We're able to push and pull data from multiple systems ˗ both old and new ˗ which provides you with the automation and workflows you need to improve the customer experience.

 

What are your customer experience goals? Regardless of where you are on your journey, we’re here to help. Contact us today to book a 30-minute strategy session to learn how we can help bridge your customer experience gaps.


Don’t be the Last Utility Provider to Take Advantage of a Proven and Lucrative Go-to-Market Strategy

Success in the utility industry is all about market share. However, since every household, business, and office space is already a consumer, the only way to acquire new customers is to convince prospects to switch providers. Which is typically easier said than done, that is until now.

Once a thriving go-to-market strategy, field sales was virtually abandoned due to rogue reps using misleading sales techniques, which resulted in an industry with less than a credible reputation. Today, door-to-door sales is making a strong comeback – primarily due to technology that is helping energy providers to better control the sales process and manage field reps.

 

Field Sales is Alive and Profitable

When done right, field sales is a powerful go-to-market strategy. As one of the few sales types that puts the sales rep face-to-face with the prospect, it allows the rep to immediately respond to any concerns the prospect may have about changing providers. For example, we’ll assume that the rep is meeting with a consumer that has never switched providers. Perhaps this prospect had encountered difficulties in accessing online offers, or they just hadn’t had the time or inclination to search for an energy provider that could provide a better deal. Face-to-face selling brings the best offers directly to the consumer, without them needing to initiate the switching process. And in the UK, where the rep needs to demonstrate the amount of money that can be saved by switching providers, they’re able to immediately provide a price comparison at the prospect’s door.

A recent Forbes article highlighted that changing energy providers is easy and can save utility users, on average, a few hundred pounds a year, however, nearly 11 million people in the UK have never switched. Echoing these observations, the Office of Gas and Electricity Markets (Ofgem), Britain's independent energy regulator, concluded that while the price cap saves consumers up to £100 a year, they can save even more – up to £150 a year by simply switching utility providers.

The financial benefits speak for themselves, however in a market that’s ripe for switching providers, one has to wonder why more energy providers aren’t taking advantage of this golden opportunity. History clearly shows that field sales, when done right, encourages people to change providers in a way that other sales and marketing tactics simply can’t. A formula for successful field sales can be found in Ireland. In the Emerald Isle, energy and telco companies have mastered door-to-door sales, and it’s no coincidence that this country has one of the highest switching rates in the world.

While some UK utility companies are testing the waters of field sales, it’s the innovative providers that are at the core of the door-to-door sales comeback. By revamping their sales techniques, implementing technology, and operating within government guidelines, they’re capturing the lion’s share of this vast, yet static market.

 

Put Your Field Sales on the Road to Success

Regardless of whether you’re one of the Big Six utility companies or a smaller provider, running a successful field sales operation takes forethought and the right technology. One thing is clear, however, to remain profitable now’s the time to implement a field sales strategy, and it starts with clearly defined processes and a well-executed plan.

More than a sales tool, our Fusion software platform enables you to manage and track the sales processes of your field reps. From business intelligence to lead management and fulfilment, our comprehensive platform gives you everything you need to improve sales, elevate performance, improve compliance, and gain market share.

With our comprehensive platform, you’re able to quickly and effectively connect people, processes, and data for a competitive advantage. With PSI as your partner, your field sales efforts will consistently be:

  • Compliant
  • Safe
  • Controlled and well-documented
  • Highly efficient

Are you ready to gain more market share? Contact us to see PSI’s Fusion platform in action.


Leading the Way Through Compliance, Customer Experience and Competitiveness

Regardless of whether your organisation sells energy or telco products, regulatory compliance isn’t an option. With regulators such as Ofgem and Ofcom expanding their scope on an ongoing basis, the regulatory landscape is a moving target, putting you at a distinct disadvantage.

Although it’s mandatory, how does your organisation view compliance – as a necessary evil or as a means to improve the customer experience and perhaps even gain a competitive advantage? This blog explores the intersection between compliance and customer experience, how it can improve your competitive standing, and the tools and technology you need for a customer-centric approach to compliance.

 

Compliance and Customer Experience: Better Together

For many organisations in regulated sectors, the thought is that they have to make a choice – satisfy regulators or satisfy customers. Like a needle and thread, compliance and customer experience go hand-in-hand. Although a difficult balance, there’s a direct relationship between being compliant and delivering exceptional customer experiences.

Let’s take a look at a few scenarios, one that takes a siloed approach to compliance and customer experience and the other that puts the customer at the centre of compliance.

 

Scenario 1: Disconnected compliance and customer experience

Using one of the most common reasons for lodging a complaint, billing, we’ll assume that your organisation has recently seen a spike in the number of complaints. Regardless of whether the customer wasn’t transferred to the right person or department or their complaint wasn’t properly acknowledged or handled, the end result remains the same – a formal complaint being lodged with the regulatory agency.

 

Scenario 2: Integrated compliance and customer experience

We’ll use the same set of circumstances, however since you’re taking a customer-centric approach to regulatory compliance, the outcome is much different. Not only are customers immediately transferred to the right person or department, but the first few calls set the wheels in motion to determine the cause of increased billing complaints. In this case, you had a technical issue with your billing system, which failed to notify customers of the upcoming rate increase. To rectify the situation and decrease the number of incoming calls, you immediately send all customers an apology notice along with an explanation of the rate increase.

While this situation is rather benign and easily rectified, there are others that could have a not so clear cut resolution and/or result in personal damage. It’s important to remember that the goal of regulators is to protect the customer. Put another way, their purpose is to ensure that organisations aren’t taking advantage of customers, either intentionally or unintentionally.

 

Compliance: A Continuous Cycle of Improvement

Staying compliant entails continuous improvements where any complaint, error, or mistake is reviewed and acted upon. Once corrective measures have taken place, you need to use the situation as a learning initiative and determine how it can be embedded within your processes such as workflows, training, etc., to ensure the same situation doesn’t happen again.

It’s also important to remember that the frequency of compliance changes will require ongoing enhancements on your part, from the processes, tools, and technology aspects. With sales reps in the field, you need to do everything possible to ensure they are able to deliver great customer experiences and operate within regulatory guidelines.

This means providing them with the technology and tools they need to efficiently do their jobs while remaining compliant. Technology that is making a difference includes auto-populating as much customer information as possible, delivering logic-driven questions to their device to ensure that the right product is offered to the right customer type, providing the ability to validate customer data while at the door, and delivering continuous learning electronically. In addition, when a problem arises you need the ability to access the details around the issue. This is where having intelligent insights can help to know why the issue occurred, rectify the situation faster, and reduce complaints.

 

Is Compliance Part of Your Company’s DNA?

Too often organisations approach compliance and customer experience from different vantage points, with compliance falling under the purview of your legal department and customer experience the responsibility of customer-facing employees. This siloed approach makes it difficult to remain compliant and deliver exceptional customer experiences simultaneously.

When compliance complements the customer experience, it becomes part of your processes and workflows, basically becoming embedded in your organisation’s DNA – giving you a competitive edge. You're more apt to pick up early warning signs of possible compliance risk and be able to proactively take the necessary actions. Doing this, however, requires the right tools and technology. Technology and tools that only a company that has extensive energy, telco and regulatory compliance knowledge can provide.

At PSI, we have experience in helping regulated organisations take a customer-centric approach to regulatory compliance. With us as your partner, you’ll be able to cost-effectively bridge the compliance and customer experience gap and take a leading role in your industry.

 

Do you want to improve regulatory compliance, deliver outstanding customer experiences, and gain a competitive advantage? Contact our team today to learn how we can help you make compliance a core component of your company’s DNA.


Bigger Isn’t Necessarily Better: What to Look for When Choosing a Salesforce Automation Software Provider

Not a new saying by any stretch of the imagination – ‘nobody ever got fired for buying IBM’ – IBM, or any large market leader such as Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, SalesForce, etc. became the safe choice when purchasing pricey software. After all, by going with one of the established brands the thought was (and for many still is) that they were too big to fail, which of course, isn’t always true. With a lifespan lasting nearly 50 years, this overused mantra is finally dying out – and with good reason.

While not true of all big brand software solutions, some of them share the following disadvantages – slow to implement new technology, require long deployment periods, don’t always deliver what is needed, use ambiguous pricing schemes, and many times embed the software so deep that switching vendors is difficult at best. Companies are now realising that legacy software products aren’t risk-free and are actively looking for alternatives.

 

Why Smaller Salesforce Automation Software Vendors Can Make a Big Difference

Regulated markets such as energy and telco are fiercely competitive and to leapfrog the competition you need to differentiate yourself. Technology is changing faster than ever, and as mentioned above some of the big brands may be slow to implement innovative technologies that can give you a competitive edge. In addition, their sheer size may make it difficult to get the service you need when you need it, not to mention potential execution time delays and prohibitive costs. When you stick with the supposed software solution leaders, you become a ‘me too’ energy or telco provider that has limited ability to use technology as a differentiator.

On the flipside are smaller, more nimble vendors that not only know you and your needs, but embrace today’s technology to deliver the software solutions that can have a significant impact on what you offer, how you run and control your field sales operations, and give you a competitive advantage. As you think over making the switch to a smaller salesforce automation software vendor, some questions that typically come to mind include:

  • Does the software provider have technical expertise?
  • Do they understand regulatory standards?
  • Can they provide data security?
  • Are they able to scale to meet our growing requirements?
  • Will they still be in business 5 or 10 years from now?
  • And, of course – if something goes wrong, will my reputation be at stake?

While they are valid concerns, the one thing to keep in mind is that smaller doesn’t necessarily mean new to the industry. In fact, going with a smaller salesforce automation software vendor can deliver benefits that their larger counterparts aren’t able to provide, such as:

  • Best-in-class technology that leverages today’s innovation.
  • Ability to mitigate risks by exceeding regulatory requirements to ensure compliance.
  • Agility and adaptability to quickly respond to your changing needs.
  • Delivering solutions on time and on budget.
  • Supplying a devoted team to build one-to-one relationships.
  • Providing a high level of service for successful project outcomes.
  • Having intimate knowledge about your business.
  • Being committed to your long-term success.

Energy and telco field sales can be a lucrative business when done right, which is why you need a software vendor that not only puts your interests first but is a specialist with extensive industry expertise – regardless of their size.

 

Give Your Energy or Telco Field Sales Reps a Competitive Advantage

Energy or telco field sales can be a minefield of obstacles, which is why the right salesforce automation software provider is essential to your success. Because of the numerous field sales challenges, it’s important to find a software vendor that understands your world. One that has deep knowledge of this highly regulated industry and can help you navigate inherent complexities.

With 15 years of industry experience, PSI has been helping energy and telco providers overcome obstacles to succeed in this highly regulated and competitive environment. Our dedicated team of experts will work side-by-side with you to identify gaps in your processes and provide the solutions you need to take advantage of innovative and profitable opportunities.

As industry experts, we’ve invested millions into creating solutions to streamline field sales initiatives through superior processes and flawless workflows. Our customers, including global leading brands such as SSE Airtricity, Vodafone, Electric Ireland, Fibrous Broadband, Spectrum Broadband, and many others are reaping the benefits of working with a smaller, yet highly focused and nimble salesforce automation software provider. In fact, SSE Airtricity describes us as “...the real deal...enabling them to become best in class”

 

Thriving in this highly regulated and competitive market takes an established salesforce automation software solution partner that has a proven reputation for success. Contact us today to learn how this small, yet innovative software company can help you exceed your goals.


How Energy and Telco Companies Can Protect Their Brand by Controlling Sales Processes

Did you know that you only have 7 seconds to make a first impression and that it takes 5 - 7 impressions to even start creating brand awareness? A solid brand is a symbol of trust, dependability, and integrity. In fact, a survey of more than 2,000 consumers revealed that 94% of the respondents are more likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.

Creating a positive brand image takes time and money and the last thing you want is for your brand to be associated with negative impressions. Although companies across all industries strive to protect the integrity of their brands, the energy and telco sectors have unique considerations as historically poor practices have harmed their reputation, as well as resulted in regulatory fines.

 

The relationship between sales processes and brand integrity

In an industry where winning customers requires you to outperform their current provider, brand integrity is of the utmost importance. While most of your sales reps are honest, play by the rules, and hardworking, it only takes a handful of door-to-door sales missteps to tarnish the reputation you built and nurtured.

When it comes to field sales operations, energy and telco companies face a distinctive and difficult dilemma. On one hand, door-to-door selling is incredibly effective and profitable; and on the other hand, without the right controls in place, even just a few bad processes could chip away at your brand’s reputation – until there is nothing left. The truth of the matter is that when you try to manage sales routes with manual processes, mistakes can and do happen.

Whether honest mistakes or rogue reps disregarding processes and using misleading sales tactics, you need to do everything possible to keep your brand’s image intact. We’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes and mis-selling techniques to help you determine if your brand is at risk.

  • Multiple visits to the same address by different sales reps.
  • Reps that don’t have a solid understanding of your internal rules and processes.
  • Inadequate training as to the procedures reps needs to follow when in the field.
  • Sales reps using fake phone numbers, bank account details, and phoney or duplicate addresses to create a sale.
  • Sales reps misleading customers to close a sale (which can also lead to regulatory fines).
  • Sales reps disregarding their lead list and cold knocking.
  • Finalising a sale without proper customer consent.

As you read through the list, did you find yourself thinking – yes, we’ve been trying to overcome these issues? If so, there’s a solution that will mitigate these and countless other brand-damaging challenges, and it starts with being able to effectively manage your sales processes.

 

Control your sales processes, control your brand image

Without the right technology, you simply have no idea what’s going on in the field. To control your sales processes, you need a solution that enables you to:

  • Track rep performance: Go beyond tracking sales quotas and manage agent training records and clearance checks, monitor sales rep’s performance KPIs, track rep’s whereabouts using GPS, and issue licenses.
  • Manage territories: Divide areas into hubs, assign routes within the hubs to individual reps, and monitor their movement with GPS.
  • Put routes in hibernation mode: When you over-sell in a particular area, you need to block selling within that route (or set of addresses) for a specific period of time.
  • Know reps are selling in their assigned territories: Geo-stamp every sale made using GPS.
  • Mark do not contact locations: When a customer asks a sales rep to stop contacting them, it’s important that this request is followed.
  • Eliminate mis-selling: Provide reps with a sales script that can be integrated into the overall sales process.
  • Ensure compliance and best practices: Clearly define all sales processes and ensure rep verification.

At PSI we have the technology that allows you to do this and more. With us, you gain complete control of the sales process and can be assured of being highly compliant with regulatory mandates.

 

Don’t leave your brand’s reputation to chance

Mis-selling not only puts your brand at risk but can result in regulatory fines – something you want to avoid at all costs. With the ability to effectively manage sales processes, you’re able to mitigate the risk of bad sales and help your field reps deliver the kind of customer experience that will elevate your brand.

A tightly controlled sales process is key to maintaining brand integrity and it’s never been easier to achieve. When you partner with PSI you get a solution, based on 15 years of industry expertise, that enables you to control the sales process, achieve successful field sales operations, protect your brand, and stay compliant with government regulations.

Talk to a member of our team today to learn how you can control your sales processes and boost brand appeal.