Retail excellence

Identifying opportunities for efficiency and new ways of working for suppliers

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Fledgling challenger brand Rebel Energy, due to launch later this year, is creating a “digital workforce” to complement its human customer service team. The company will combine employees with intelligent automation platform Blue Prism Cloud, allowing many customer service issues to be automated. Where the platform cannot resolve issues automatically, the team will be notified.
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Energy retailers should "redouble their efforts" to ensure they are listening properly to customers' complaints, an EDF Energy director has said. Paul Spence, director of strategy and corporate affairs, made the comments during Utility Week’s latest #AskUsAnything webinar in response to a recent article by Stephen Littlechild.
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Insurance giant RSA knows what it’s like to feel the drag of legacy systems on its cost base and productivity potential. But a new approach to deploying work in its back office and optimising the capabilities of its employees has unlocked breakthroughs in efficiency and effectiveness.
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In the latest in our Customer Centric interview series Adam John speaks to Mark Royle, co-founder and chief executive of Manchester-based Zebra Power. From ensuring a swift response to enquiries to making every effort to retain its young workforce, Royle tells Utility Week about the secrets to their success.
Interviews
In the second of a series of interviews with utilities firms highly rated for their customer service, Utility Week speaks to Igloo Energy chief executive Matt Clemow. He discusses his belief that a strong foundation of good customer service is fundamental for the transition to net zero carbon. To that end, he explains how technology can play a vital role in the customer journey.
Interviews
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and increasingly high public expectations, best practice in customer service is more crucial than ever. Utility Week kicks off the first in a series of interviews with suppliers ranked highly in customer service league tables, to share their secrets to success. We begin with So Energy, the supplier founded by two former Macquarie traders, which has ranked in the top five of the Citizens Advice star ratings tables for ten straight quarters.
Interviews

Latest in Retail excellence

Good Energy, which has already hit out at Ofgem this week, directs its fire at Ovo - rubbishing the latter's green credentials and accusing it of doing "effectively nothing to support the growth of renewable generation in the UK".
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Utility Week talks to Octopus Electric Vehicles chief executive Fiona Howarth about the "snapshot of the future" which has seen an explosion of interest in use of energy and the transition to electric vehicles (EV). She was speaking after it was revealed that EV drivers using Octopus Energy’s Agile tariff and an Ohme charger were paid to charge their vehicles over the bank holiday weekend.
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From day one council-backed energy retailers have faced questions over their viability. Following high-profile losses, upheaval on company boards and now the appointment of advisors at two such suppliers, are we seeing the dying embers of this particular experiment?
Analysis
As the industry marks mental health awareness week, Pure Planet’s co-founder Steven Day tells Utility Week how his company was set up with the importance of its employees’ mental health in mind – from an unlimited holiday allowance to virtual wine and cheese clubs.
Interviews
Changes to daily household routines as a result of lockdown could have a long-term positive impact on carbon emissions, data from EDF has revealed. While historically additional energy demand has been created at peak times, typically between 4-7pm, the lockdown has meant that demand has smoothed throughout the day.
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Talks are believed to be underway between Ofgem and energy suppliers over the possibility of suspending network charges for three months. However, Neil Cornelius, managing director at global consulting firm Berkeley Research Group, warned such plans could risk retailers building up additional debts.
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Companies across the sector have a duty to help the 2,600 people set to be made redundant by Ovo Energy, the chief executive of Energy and Utility Skills has argued. Nick Ellins cited a skills gap of around 250,000 people within the sector which will need to be filled.
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Ovo Energy says the rapid change in consumer behaviour as a result of the lockdown has prompted the faster integration of its business with SSE Energy Services, meaning 2,600 roles are set to go in 2020. The GMB union has accused the company of a “betrayal of promises” made to workers when it completed the acquisition SSE’s retail arm at the start of the year.
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App-based energy supplier Pure Planet will introduce more tariff offerings to its customers, after currently only offering one variable tariff. A fixed tariff will go live in June, with more planned in due course.
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Philippe Commaret, EDF’s retail managing director, talks to Utility Week about how the lockdown has impacted the company's strategy and its relationship with both its customers and its workforce.
Interviews
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