The Consumer Challenge Group (CCG) exists to ensure that companies in the Utilities sector remember to balance the needs of their customers against shareholder demand for increased profit. Tasked with ensuring customers get a fair deal from their provider the CCG is forcing Utilities providers to change and improve their services.
The CCG has no authority to make industry decisions, or to reject corporate proposals, but it is an important partner that helps ensure price control settlements work are ‘in the best interests of existing and future consumers’. As such, the CCG (and all member organisations) are an increasingly important part of the Ofgem/Ofwat decision making processes.
Meetings with Consumer Challenge Groups
At the heart of the CCG process are regular meetings with Utilities providers. At the heart of each conference will be a performance review by the provider. This presentation is the providers opportunity to prove how well they are meeting their obligations – and the advances made towards improving the customer experience.
Another key area of interest for CCGs is account arrears and low-income consumers. Utilities debt continues to be a major issue, and regulatory bodies are keen to ensure that these individuals are helped as far as possible, and that the providers is meeting their legal obligations.
In many ways, CCGs are the human face of the digital transformation revolution. They are the people who you are trying to better serve through the application of technology and processes.
Meeting the challenge of Consumer Challenge Groups
All of the questions raised by CCG representatives require hard data and statistics, records of progress towards goals, and specific KPIs. And it is here that IT becomes crucial to meeting the challenge of CCGs.
The ability to capture, store and report on data is crucial – for both CCG meetings, and digital transformation. But this information needs to be accurate and timely, or conclusions drawn from it will be faulty. If data presented to prove KPI achievements turns out to be inaccurate, the provider may find the issue is referred to Ofgem/Ofwat, triggering an investigation into whether they have mislead the CCG panel.
Because accuracy is vital, IT systems will need to be developed to ensure that information is correct and validated at the point of capture. This includes the initial contract sign-up with field sales engineers, calls to customer service, and accounts issues – particularly those affecting consumers who have fallen into arrears. Data will also need to be cross-referenced (in real-time) against smart meter input and any other data store used by the provider.
Realistically, Utilities firms should already be creating systems capable of uniting and reporting on their disparate data sets in order to drive their digital transformation efforts. But with the increased importance of CCGs – and their own interest in your corporate data – further emphasises the importance of improving IT systems. Ultimately, the data held by your business is the only way to prove that advances are being made to satisfy CCG representatives.
To learn more about building systems that can help meet the challenge of consumer challenge groups and digital transformation programs, please get in touch with the team:
Grace Moore/Amy Keith