26 Oct 2023

Energy to pet insurance: Empowering rapid diversification to enhance profitability

In our fast-paced world, time is a precious resource, and the ability to add value efficiently is paramount for businesses. Generating new ideas and identifying growth opportunities is just the beginning; the real challenge lies in the swift and effective implementation of these ideas. For utility companies, this challenge is especially pressing. Faced with margin erosion, the urgent race to Net Zero, fluctuating prices, and ever-evolving customer expectations, the necessity for time saving pre-configured journeys segmented to customers has never been more critical.

Rapid customer journey development

Developing customer journeys to accommodate an increasing number of user scenarios is a complex technological challenge. Not every customer will follow the “happy path” – the optimal linear customer journey, which features no exceptions to the standard format. Coding each of these scenarios individually is not a practical option for utility providers. This is where Gentrack steps in, offering suppliers over 100 pre-built customer journeys to cover their customers lifecycle, to ensure, seamless customer experience.

Right from a customer joining, to their onboarding and personalisation, meter reads, invoicing, and payment, to finally considering new product offerings, Gentrack’s customer journeys are designed to optimise the consumers customer experience along their complete lifecycle.

Automated workflows can help to streamline and expedite customer-facing processes and increase digital-first experiences – such as Change of Tenancy (CoT), whereby a customer moving out of their property must inform their supplier of the change of address. Depending on retailer, this process either involves the customer calling the customer service agent or submitting via a webform the property’s final meter reading. The ability for customer service agents to pick these agile CoT journeys can significantly reduce customer waiting time by up to 70%.

Customer journeys for growth

In the pursuit of greener and more sustainable models, utilities are moving away from the traditional meter-to-cash model and concepts including energy-as-a-service and demand-side management programmes (DSM) have emerged. But, as the competition for profitability intensifies, some utility companies are diversifying into entirely new industries. The question then arises: How can utilities venture into uncharted territory while maintaining rapid speed to market and ensuring affordable investments to secure profitability?

From energy to pet insurance

According to Which, today one in ten people buy more than one service from their energy provider. Broadband services have become a popular choice for energy suppliers seeking diversification, with industry giants such as E.ON and Shell incorporating this offering into their product portfolios in recentyears. Often dubbed the “fourth utility,” it is not surprising to see energy companies venturing into this territory.

Perhaps less expected, is the idea of a utility provider diversifying into pet insurance. Yet, in a remarkable move this September, New Zealand-based Pulse Energy did exactly that. Typically, establishing an entirely new revenue stream and product line is a lengthy and resource-intensive process, requiring a comprehensive infrastructure overhaul. However, with the support of Gentrack, Pulse Energy achieved the extraordinary feat of conceiving and launching an entirely new product category within a mere 30 days.

So what do utilities companies need to make diversification a success?

Firstly, utilities must start by hyper-personalising their offerings. There is no point offering pet insurance to customers without pets. Aside from the obvious, utilities providers also need to prioritise more subtle individual differences in customer expectations. For example, our recent IDC study uncovered that tech-savvy younger customers demonstrate unique purchasing tendencies and exhibit a greater awareness of climate change and sustainability.

To target your offerings at the right customers, you need a powerful CRM that ensures a complete 360-degree view of the customer and leverages data from all customer touchpoints – ensuring a tailored experience for customers from onboarding, all the way through to their payment method of choice.

When it comes to taking payment, increasingly customers are eager to self-serve through digital channels, especially dedicated mobile apps, instant messaging services, text/SMS and dedicated customer portals. Leveraging technology to ensure accurate on-time bills is key to building trust, while creating a unified bill experience for all products and services enhances convenience, ultimately fuelling loyalty.

The pursuit of convenience is precisely why it’s a smart move for utilities to broaden their horizons with offerings such as pet insurance. Customers crave simplicity and having all their bills managed by a single provider in one place is a game-changing advantage.

Maximising the benefits of segmentation

A standout feature of Gentrack’s solution is its power to unlock the potential of customer segmentation for utility companies. By delving into the distinct needs and preferences of diverse customer segments, utilities can deliver deeply personalised services and products. This approach not only elevates the customer experience but also forges lasting customer loyalty.

Rapid product releases

Gentrack’s Product Catalogue provides an intuitive user interface that simplifies the development of new product lines, via a simple dashboard and drop-down menus. Complete with easy to access tutorials and tours, suppliers can release products in hours, not weeks or months. This level of agility is a game-changer in an industry that was historically hampered with slow innovation. It allows utility companies to respond swiftly to changing market dynamics, customer demands, and emerging technologies.

Efficient customer segmentation and quicker product releases contribute to the enhancement of customer lifetime value. When utility companies can deliver services and products tailored to the unique needs of their customers, they are more likely to retain those customers over the long term. This not only boosts revenue but also reduces customer acquisition costs.

The era of Product-to-Profit

At Gentrack, we’ve coined a term to refer to this technology-led shift towards highly targeted, diversified profitable product offerings. Termed ‘product-to-profit’, the model describes the evolution to a more agile, targeted and automated way of working. By putting utility customers at the centre – by managing the full end-to-end life cycle from exploration, acquisition, and onboarding; through consuming and paying for the service; and finally, loyalty and retention. Product-to-profit provides a detailed view of both the customer behaviour and profitability to support innovation, targeting of offers, increased revenue and profitability, reduced cost to serve and superior total experience.

Once utility providers have a deep understanding of their customers and the tools at their disposal to swiftly develop new product lines, they have the power to venture into different avenues for profitability. Whether that means exploring entirely new industry models, like the venture into pet insurance, or modernising existing offerings, what was once a multi-year endeavour, involving complex technological overhauls can now be achieved in a matter of weeks. This dynamic transformation not only secures the industry’s future but also ensures that utility companies remain at the forefront of meeting evolving customer expectations.

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