Redefining the Renewal Experience

For energy companies, the renewal process is one of the most strategically important stages of the customer lifecycle, contributing to customer loyalty and account growth. Explore how North Highland helped a UK energy and home services company redefine the renewal experience for its business customers.

Energy & Utilities Case Study

Client Situation

A leading UK energy provider wanted to adapt to the fast-changing energy market where new entrants and technologies were challenging existing customer relationships. The company, which had a strong foundation of customer insights and research, had not yet applied that information to define and develop the customer experience for the small-to-medium businesses they serve. Customer retention rates and key satisfaction indicators among these accounts had started to decline just as an IT systems issue began to further erode relationships and trust. The time had come to create more compelling, engaging customer experiences across all channels that business customers use.

Our Approach

The North Highland team employed an agile, sprint-based approach to quickly and iteratively identify improvement opportunities and validate them with employees and customers. Initial discussions explored areas of the renewals experience that the client believed were driving dissatisfaction and churn. The team then sought to:

  • Better understand the existing end-to-end experience of customers
  • Identify specific customer wants, needs and motivations
  • Define critical points in the customer journey and opportunities to improve them

To ensure accuracy and understanding as well as keeping the process truly human-centered, North Highland held discussions with 20 customers and 80 employees from key functional areas across the organization, as well as insights from more than 25 internal research reports.

Typically, this deep level of research could take several months. However, North Highland’s action-biased research sprints enabled team members to continually acquire, share and validate research and understandings. Drop-in sessions for all employees helped to quickly drive overall awareness and understanding of key customer issues while promoting the importance of a customer-centric approach to contract renewals. As a result of this approach, the intensive research project was completed in only eight weeks.

Value Delivered

The North Highland team identified more than 60 recommendations to strengthen the renewals experience for business customers. These recommendations addressed a broad variety of issues ranging from aspects of the existing customer experience that directly or indirectly drove customer dissatisfaction to strategic initiatives that would provide the foundation for lasting improvements and market differentiation. North Highland also created a series of communications materials to convey findings, engage the client’s employees and inspire new, more effective ways of working.

The North Highland team identified more than 60 recommendations to strengthen the renewals experience for business customers.

Recommendations were shared with the client’s executives, employees and board of directors through a combination of well-attended presentations, drop-in sessions and a final workshop. While it is too early to measure improvements in specific metrics, North Highland’s focus on knowledge sharing and capability building throughout the project already has generated a significant increase in collaboration among the client’s internal teams. The client expects that this new cross-functional cooperation plus pursuit of recommended improvements will help increase renewals, strengthen operations and enhance the overall experience of its business customers.