How Business Process Automation Fuel Energy Companies

Posted by Karl Davis on 17-Sep-2015 16:36:00

Powerful energyHow do customers see your brand?

As a compliance manager, this might not be a question you’re asked to consider very often. After all, your role is about keeping on top of legal and regulatory obligations, not marketing. Right?

In fact, when it comes to your company’s reputation, your role is more important than ever.

As you’re no doubt (very) aware, some of the UK’s biggest utility companies have come under fire in recent years for mis-selling and misleading customers, hitting both their public image and their bottom line – hard.

To tackle this, utility companies are working hard to distinguish themselves from the competition based on the quality of their aftersales service. They’re anxious to shake off the predatory image that’s been plastered across the media, presenting themselves as firms that really do care about giving their customers a great deal.

But the trouble with making post-sales service your USP is that, as the name suggests, it comes after the sale. And when companies are having to work extra hard to win back customers’ trust, they need to demonstrate as early on as possible in the process why they’re a supplier to rely on.

Meanwhile, competing on price – the most obvious way to attract clients in the early stages - is fast becoming a zero sum game, with prices being driven down to rock-bottom levels across the board. This makes it trickier and trickier for a utility company to stand out in the marketplace; trickier and trickier to convince customers to trust them with their business.

So what’s a utility company to do?

And, more importantly, what does this have to do with you? Well, with brand reputations on the line, safeguarding your compliance record is crucial for your firm’s future. And it just so happens that the best way to strengthen compliance in the build-up to a sale is also a fantastic way to improve the way your firm interacts with potential clients from the outset, creating a point of difference that actually helps to secure a sale.

Business Process Automation allow firms to shape and monitor the process that their sales agents follow when dealing with a potential customer out in the field. It ensures that they present all necessary information in a way that is clear, easy-to-understand and never misleading.

Plus, it allows them to capture important data about a customer and feed it back to the head office in real time, improving accuracy while actually reducing hassle and wait times. In fact, sales staff can guide new sign-ups right through the sale with total transparency, running instant background checks, accessing purchase histories, processing payments and automating payment confirmations right there on the spot.

In practise, these new automated workflows greatly benefit the head office as much as the field staff team, as the entire sales fulfilment chain is modernised and data is synched in real time.

The pre-sale interaction becomes a highly positive and professional experience for the customer, giving them peace of mind that the salesperson is accountable and liable – they can’t hide behind the company if a complaint surfaces later on. At the same time, the sales agent can rest assured that they’ve followed the protocol to a T, and can focus on delivering great service and hitting their targets, with no niggling worry that they might have forgotten something that could come back to bite them later on.

Finding smart ways to leverage technology can help you to plough ahead of the competition, winning customer trust and improving their experience of the sales process.

In fact, as the Harvard Business Review has pointed out, mobile solutions “increase efficiency and eliminate additional friction in business processes” creating a “win-win-win scenario” for utility companies.

What’s more, by opting for Business Process Automation, you can fully align your compliance requirements with the business goals of the company, using digital tools and automation to keep your team on the straight and narrow – even as they’re enjoying greater and greater success.


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