Best Practice Customer Retention Cost-effective Strategies to Maximize Residential Customer Loyalty

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1 A Datamonitor report Best Practice Customer Retention Cost-effective Strategies to Maximize Residential Customer Loyalty Published: Jul-03 Product Code: DMEN0255 Why buy this report? Learn how to improve customer loyalty by up to a factor of three by 2006 Achieve business and product uptake objectives by retaining customers for development Actionable best practice examples will eliminate dissatisfaction whilst building the foundations for brand development Executive Summary available in ready to present Slide Pack Format Learn the new ideas and practices that can differentiate your proposition from that of the competition Understand the scope and challenges that new entrants will place upon retention efforts

2 Best Practice Customer Retention - Cost-effective Strategies to Maximize Residential Customer Loyalty DMEN0255 An introduction to the report The increasing costs of replacing customers, along with the strategic imperative to develop the customer base, have placed greater focus upon best practice in retaining customers. As direct sales tactics continue to win even those customers who are satisfied with their utility, new strategies need to be employed if lifetime customer value is to be preserved. Datamonitor's Best Practice Customer Retention report gives strategic and competitive insight into how specific utilities have improved residential customer retention without adding significantly to the cost-to-serve of customers. This strategic planning document will therefore benefit the reader by assessing current best practices throughout the customer proposition, and where these can be improved upon. It will provide practical advice on how to emulate the best in class, with actionable recommendations on how to maximise loyalty through specific operational improvements. Scope and coverage of the report Case studies of 26 companies' retention practices Analysis of the drivers of customer loss and customer retention Focus upon customer perceptions, expectations, and costs of retention Forecasts of developments in customer retention to 2006 that will impact upon the retention strategies of today A framework of best practices to drive customer loyalty, building on individual elements of many utilities successful experience Report methodology In researching this subject, utility executives in Europe, the United States, and Australia were interviewed to establish best practices in particular areas of the customer proposition. These primary interviews drove case studies and consensus opinion on what represented best-in-class strategy and processes. This was supplemented by inhouse knowledge and secondary research. For more information... tel: fax:

3 Key findings and report highlights Datamonitor finds that whilst dissatisfied customers are most likely to be lost, the current supplier proposition is insufficient to retain even those customers who are satisfied. Competitor sales teams' pitches of better price and / or service are aided by confusion with many elements of the proposition. If utilities implement identified best practices, satisfaction can be built up to customer loyalty amongst 30% of the customer base by These strategies must involve a focus upon influencing customer perceptions, managing expectations, and developing a truly customer-centric proposition that eliminates confusion and the root causes of dissatisfaction in the service chain from metering to billing to the call centre. Even satisfied customers can still be switched by a direct sales team Utilities must master the basics of consistent service to improve satisfaction and enable brand loyalty Potential price-switchers Least likely Service-driven switchers Loyal Favourable Satisfied Apathetic A non-price connection with their utility Expected standards being bettered Perceived standards being met Doing enough not to drive the customer away Customer understanding 10% Customer communications 40% Staff development 70% Customer loyalty - 10% Offer development 30% Complaint Management - 40% Sales channels - 50% Emotional branding - 25% Call centre 70% Most likely Dissatisfied: 10-30% Unhappy but unmoved Pro-active switchers Getting the basics right Raising the satisfaction bar Forging loyalty Source: Datamonitor DATAMONITOR Source: Datamonitor DATAMONITOR DATAMONITOR Stage 1: Consistent Service Competency - Where utilities are today in providing a basic and competent level of service that is sufficient to reduce or eliminate customer dissatisfaction, and where improvements can be made Stage 2: Customer Lock-In - An assessment of how to retain customers in the long-term by either building barriers to switching or creating positive reasons for the customer to stay Stage 3: The Safety Net - Ongoing efforts to catch customers in difficulty and improve satisfaction Stage 4: Crisis Point - Emergency efforts to retain customers in danger The Future of Customer Retention - How to improve customer retention to 2006 Report structure chapter by chapter Datamonitor Analysis...If your utility is a revolving door of new customers entering and old customers leaving, it may be time to address the imbalance between large acquisitive advertising budgets and training budgets...

4 Best Practice Customer Retention - Cost-effective Strategies to Maximize Residential Customer Loyalty DMEN0255 Table of contents STAGE ONE: CONSISTENT SERVICE COMPETENCY Basic customer satisfaction revolves around uninterrupted power supply. However, to build upon this the utility needs to gain a perceived level of competency in meter reading, billing, payment, and query resolution. The first stage of a customer retention strategy, therefore, is to reduce the proportion of dissatisfied customers in the customer base by ensuring basic levels of service. Eliminating dissatisfaction The role of the call center Eliminating dissatisfaction European utility industries at best have dissatisfied 12% of the customer base, predominantly due to billing and service issues. The role of the call center A survey of call centre managers reveals what is best practice, with questions of speed, efficiency, training and complaint management specifically addressed. Case studies of an American utility's call centre, British Airways' complaint management processes. STAGE TWO: CUSTOMER LOCK-IN This chapter assesses how to build upon basic customer satisfaction in order to develop more lasting customer relationships. Locking in the customer by increasing the perceived cost of leaving the relationship Provide the customer with positive reasons to continue to choose your utility over and above the competition Customer lock-in Bundling services: examples of British Gas and Powergen's efforts to widen their propositions Tariff retention: examples from Integral Energy, Sydkraft and TXU Energi Positive reasons to stay Case studies on how to improve bill clarity, service, self-service, loyalty and affinity schemes. These include Eneco, Bangor Hydro, Credit Union Australia, Natwest Bank, Helsinki Energy, Union Fenosa, and Green Mountain Power. STAGE THREE: THE SAFETY NET In a business of millions of customers, errors and misunderstandings are bound to occur. Utilities must therefore employ a "safety net" to catch these customers in difficulty and return them to the fold of ongoing and profitable service. Front-of-mind awareness: communicating with the customer Price and value for money: two sides of the same coin Best practice safety nets: Datamonitor's opinion STAGE FOUR: CRISIS POINT Customers targeted by sales teams may consider moving supplier for price or service reasons. Whilst many of these customers will undoubtedly be lost as a result of price considerations, a significant proportion that varies by market can be retained or won back by the utility. Winback strategies in the UK and Scandinavia Budgets for winback strategies The customers at risk (includes home-movers) THE FUTURE OF CUSTOMER RETENTION This chapter summarises where utilities stand today in terms of customer retention, and where we should be aiming to be by 2006 if customer losses are to be stemmed. This includes a framework for action built from the range of best practices assessed in the report. What opportunities and dangers face the utility in 2003 for retention What threats are likely to emerge by 2006, and how should they be handled? A framework for an effective customer retention strategy DATASETS Table 1: European customer satisfaction with elements of the electricity supply service Table 2: Why do customers leave their utility? Table 3: Estimated costs of customer replacement with variable levels of annual customer loss in a customer base of 3 million Table 4: Spread cost per customer of switching given varying costs of customer replacement Table 5: Budget per customer at risk for retention efforts in varying market conditions for winbacks and customer replacement FIGURES Figure 1: Figure 2: Figure 3: Figure 4: Figure 5: Figure 6: Figure 7: Figure 8: Figure 9: A re-appraisal of the service proposition is required if utilities are to improve satisfaction ratings in the more demanding competitive market Customer propensity to switch varies according to the customer's attitude towards their existing supplier, but price messages remain an ongoing threat to retention Small changes in customer retention will have a major impact upon the average lifetime value of a 3,200 kwh customer Small changes in staffing levels have a major impact on service levels achieved in the call centre - American utility example Over 40% of UK customers still find that their complaints are handled badly or very badly The channel of acquisition impacts upon the likelihood of customer retention in the UK Utilities must concentrate on minimizing the longest call waiting times that impact upon customer retention, rather than improving average and fastest response times Customer communications: customer-centric and driven by brand values, not by sales pitches Utility executives' opinions on the factors that drive customer winback success in 2003 Figure 10: Channels used for customer winback strategies across Europe Figure 11: npower provides conveyancing services for home movers - a revenue stream and a means of tracking the moving customer Figure 12: Home-move tracking can greatly improve retention as large numbers of customers are lost when they move outside the incumbent supply region Figure 13: the stages of development towards customer loyalty Figure 14: improvements towards brand resonance and customer loyalty Figure 15: Utilities must make full use of each of the few customer contacts in order to build customer loyalty...fewer than 5% of utilities can claim to have a comprehensive reward scheme in place that links CSR remuneration to satisfying the customer... Datamonitor Analysis

5 Interested in this topic? Datamonitor's Own the Home Service is a powerful tool designed to enable residential utilities to identify the specific needs of the new generation of energy customers. As the process is complicated by ever-changing consumer behaviour, and compounded by a need to track competitor activity, this service helps residential utilities overcome barriers and address key issues. Other analyses available in this series Forecasting Customer Switching and Churn Winbacks Depressed market conditions and the overriding influence of customer inertia ensure the necessity for key decision makers to understand switching potential within their market. The report is an invaluable resource for maximizing sales and marketing returns and targeting the customer groups that matter. Historical switching: the report is populated with country-specific, historical data. This gives market insight and assesses switching potential Market analysis: understanding of switching drivers provides answers as to what has influenced customer behavior towards supplier S&M strategies Switching forecasts: "High", "Medium" and "Low" forecast scenarios contain future switching data. This allows the reader to plan with confidence. Published: Product Code: Price: May-03 DMEN0245 3,995 UK suppliers have been focusing on winning former customers back, capitalizing on new suppliers poor service and failure to realize the savings promised. In doing so, suppliers are benefiting from the lower acquisition costs and the affinity to their former supplier. This report features an assessment of benefits of adopting a winback strategy for European Utility suppliers plus winback switching forecasts for UK, Germany, Sweden and Spain. Also included are recommendations for maximising the implementation of a winback strategy. Published: Product Code: Price: Jun-03 BFEN0049 1,495 For more information on these and other related analyses, go to: For more information... tel: fax:

6 Place your order now... Fax back to (from Europe) or (from the US) I would like to order: Product title Product code Price / / $ / * * Please refer to our website for up-to-date prices Complete your details: Name Job Title Department Company Address State/Province Post Code/ZIP Country Tel Fax Sign below to confirm your order: Complete payment details: Please indicate your preferred currency option: UK Euro US$ Yen I enclose a check payable to Datamonitor plc for (+ p+p $30 UK / $60 rest of world) Please invoice my company for (+ p+p $30 UK / $60 rest of world) Please debit my credit/charge card Amex Visa Diners Mastercard Card No Expiry Date / Cardholder Signature Cardholder address Please supply purchase order number here if required by your accounts department: EU companies (except UK) must supply: VAT / BTW / MOMS / MWST / IVA / FPA number: Datamonitor products and services are supplied under Datamonitor s standard terms and conditions, copies of which are available on request. Payment must be received within 28 days of receipt of invoice. I do not want to receive future mailings from Datamonitor and its related companies. Occasionally, our client list is made available to other companies for carefully selected mailings. Please check here if you do not wish to receive such mailings. From Europe: tel: fax: From the US: tel: fax: From Asia Pacific: tel: fax: Contact us to find out more about our products and services

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