Change in the energy sector - new chances and opportunities

Christine Gottlieb Head of Corporate Communication

16/03/2023 • 8 minutes reading time

The energy market is currently undergoing a significant transformation. Energy providers face many new challenges today, from rising costs and government-capped electricity and gas prices. The industry must transition to get out of this crisis.

What are the buying criteria when prices are no longer competitive?

The short answer to this question is: digital services with an excellent customer experience. They are the decisive difference and create customer loyalty now and in the future.

Customer experience supports the energy transition

Our relationship with energy and our energy provider is changing. The energy industry is in a transitional phase, moving away from the old model where price was the decisive competitive criterion. Caps on electricity and gas prices and the urgent need to reduce dependence on fossil fuels demand new solutions and open up many opportunities for interaction between energy providers and customers.
An important aspect of the energy transition is also improving the customer experience. Energy providers must put their customers at the center and offer them a simple, intuitive, and user-friendly experience.

Go digital - communicate consciously

Customers share far more digital touchpoints with their energy provider than many think. Of course, the company website with a customer portal is essential for contract conclusion and self-service functions. But when looking for a new provider, most customers use comparison tools.

This means: the appearance on external platforms must also be considered.

People expect answers: when and where they interact with a product or service - at the point of sale. Providers should know how they can steer and design this communication.

What questions will customers have for their energy service providers? Where do they get information about your company or products?

To deliver the right answers, providers must make strategic decisions: when and how to design touchpoints and what which content and interactions builds trust.

Customers want to know more about brand promises, such as sustainable production, and they expect these promises to be observed. The increasing desire for customization affects the energy sector mainly in the customer's requirement for flexible tariffs and transparency in consumption. Companies must understand how ambitions, self-image and living habits have changed and what customers focus on today. Information about energy use, the possibility of monitoring and controlling energy consumption, and providing offers and incentives to promote renewable energy sources are important.

An example of such an initiative is the introduction of smart meters, which allow customers to monitor and control their energy use in real-time. This helps customers optimize their energy behavior and save costs while promoting the energy transition.

Woman operating a wall panel in her apartment

It is a design task to make contents intuitively graspable and a suitable technological basis is needed to offer the right form of content at the right moment. Individual design decisions will have immediate strategic effects - the designer's scope of work will expand here. And no, AI will not have a solution to all problems. Branding, marketing, customer service, and operational processes have to plan ahead.

How can we tackle these new challenges? Which tools can we offer energy providers to meet growing expectations?

A digital experience platform with a focus on customers and employees

People create successful digitalization. There is no predefined set of tools. That's why the employee experience is just as important to us as the customer experience. A digital experience platform is the central building block for creating, managing and delivering individual digital customer experiences.
With a digital experience platform, or DXP, it is possible to maintain content and data completely independent of touchpoints: this is the basis for a real omni-channel strategy for content, services, or e-commerce. We have already successfully implemented this for our customer MAINGAU Energie. Read more in the MAINGAU Energie Case Study.

Ergosign slide about the Maingau website and the UX Design Award.

In addition to seamless data processing, the design (look & feel) and interactions must be touchpoint-adaptable, with a consistent brand representation. A design system provides the necessary rules for all touchpoints. As a building block for UX design and development, a design system helps to create consistent digital interactions. Because once the components are set up in a design system, they only need to be adjusted once, instead of individually per touchpoint. Consistency is always maintained, which is essential for a good user experience and thus also for customer loyalty.

New opportunities - Energy providers can strengthen customer loyalty

The energy industry is evolving and providing energy providers with new opportunities to strengthen customer loyalty. Customer expectations have increased due to new technologies and the electrification of our daily lives. Almost everything is now „smart“ and has an energy demand. Networking and efficient device controls are a way of creating sustainability for consumers. Energy providers can offer their customers individual and flexible tariffs, a custom-made product range and an exclusive customer relationship through a self-service portal. Loyalty programs can reward responsible, ecological behavior and strengthen loyalty at the same time. In our Spotlight on Energy we deal intensively with these topics.

Optimized IT processes and data control

Given the high cost pressure in the energy industry, energy providers need to reduce the costs of their IT infrastructure and software and optimize and standardize their workflows. Classic CMS solutions alone no longer meet the requirements. More than a single software solution is needed to deliver perfectly orchestrated and personalized customer experiences regardless of the touchpoint.
The faster products, services, or content can be created and published, the greater the competitive advantage. A modular and interconnected DXP architecture allows for quick and centralized creation and publication of content and functions. However, only an aligned organization where everyone works together can achieve an outstanding digital experience.
The resulting motivation and personal commitment is the compelling difference of a human-centered organization. In Organizational Design, we work out together with our customers, which foundation must be created.

My summary: People should be at the center of your business!

The customer experience plays a vital role in the successfully implementing the energy transition. Energy providers should ensure that customers are adequately informed and involved.
In conclusion, the energy transition and customer experience improvement are closely linked. They offer energy providers the opportunity to advance their sustainability agenda and offer their customers a sustainable and cost-efficient energy supply.

Find out how a DXP enables you to improve the customer experience in our free DXP Whitpaper.

Tobias Zapp

You want to know more about DXP? Tobias has been working in the UX design environment at Ergosign for more than 14 years and is responsible for a large number of our DXP customers. His focus in recent years has been primarily on advising companies on the human-centered digitalization of their brand and accompanying them in the implementation.

Tobias ZappTeam Manager

Markus Kühner

For all questions concerning the energy sector, Markus is your contact person. As the site manager of our office in Saarbrücken and UX Director, he has extensive experience in the energy sector. He advises and accompanies your company with the appropriate digitization strategy. Starting with the compilation and selection of components, design and development up to the operation of your touchpoints, Markus and the Ergosign team are there for you.

Markus Kühner

Image Sources:
Header: Unsplash
"Smart Meter": Unsplash