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Martin Wells, Partner, Head of Customer & Digital, KPMG in the UK Customers, Electricity retail, Energy retail, Gas retail, Innovation, Smart metering, Strategy & management, Uncategorized, Opinion

Consumers are transferring their customer experience expectations across all of the brands they interact with. This means that utility companies are measured against banks, digital media providers and retailers. In the latest KPMG Nunwood index, many utilities in the UK improved their customer experience score, but their ranking against other brands fell backwards by 11 per cent* – other brands improved faster. The very best utilities in the world recognise the importance of customer experience in the same way the best brands do. They get to know their customers intimately, and craft services tailor-made to their personalities, desires and aspirations – often pre-emptively.

The KPMG Nunwood Customer Experience Excellence Centre is a global think-tank and draws on nine years of continuous research, gathering 2.7 million customer evaluations about their individual experiences with 3,000 brands across 21 countries. It has shown that all world class experiences, regardless of sector, share six unifying characteristics: personalisation, time and effort, expectations, integrity, resolution and empathy. The best organisations in the world score highly across all six areas. More significant, though, is the impact these pillars have on financial return; the pillar of personalisation, for example, has been found to have a 25 per cent impact on customer loyalty, and a 19 per cent impact on advocacy* – two key enablers of financial performance.

It is notable that the new entrants are demonstrating greater capability across the Six Pillars. Ovo, for instance, has reached 2018’s top 50 and is the highest-scoring brand in the utility industry*. For Ovo, it’s the pillar of integrity that makes it stand out in this year’s research. Ovo positions itself as a home service provider that stands for more than just providing an essential service. On its website, the brand says: “We’re putting the long-term future of people and our planet before short-term profits, all while bringing you prices to keep your bills down, and unmatched service to keep your happiness levels up.” In this respect, Ovo’s approach mirrors that of the very strongest brands of 2018. Purpose driven brands, focused on customer centricity, with a keen awareness of the core values and needs of the people they serve. However, they are also aware that these needs are in a constant state of flux, they never rest on their laurels and, ultimately, they are not only focusing on what it means to be a “utility”. They keep the conversation moving through ongoing customer insight, reinventing products and services as they seek to achieve the Six Pillars “gold standard” of customer experience that will see more utilities brands prosper in the years to come.


Download the KPMG Nunwood 2018 UK Customer Experience Excellence analysis at: kpmg.co.uk