In the UK, independent energy provider First Utility is aiming to set itself apart from other electricity suppliers including the UK’s ‘Big Six’ by leveraging mobile technology to improve customer experience.
The eight-year-old energy provider said this week that it is focussing heavily on smart energy web-based and mobile tools to help customers easily access consumption information, make changes to service, and view tips on energy efficiency.
First Utility reportedly allocates 60% of its IT resources and budget to its customer-facing platforms.
Bill Wilkins, CIO and CTO at First Utility, said: “It’s imperative that we offer a high-value experience.
“A responsive web platform and a well-designed and useful app are crucial. Our customers are on one-, two- or three-year contracts, and our ability to retain them is closely tied to them using our systems and understanding how they benefit.”
Mobile devices app
The energy services company is working with mobile platform vendor Appcelerator to create an application operable on iOS, Android and Amazon tablets and smartphones.
Customers can use the app to view how many kilowatt-hours they have consumed during a specific time period, how much they spend on specific days or under varied conditions.
First Utility has also brought out an app named ‘AskFirst’, which works as a ‘virtual assistant’ to answer free form questions to which it responds with immediate, customised responses.
Energy customers retention
Approximately 50% of the energy provider’s customer base utilises mobile devices to connect to the company.
Its mobile offering has helped First Utility to retain customers and achieve a near four-star rating from more than 675 user reviews on Google Play – Google’s mobile application store.
Mr Wilkins said: “Mobile technology is a key platform for delivering customers all the information, capabilities and content they need quickly and simply.
“And it helps us stand out from the competition.”
First Utility will also be looking at adding smart-home and connected-device controls to its service offering , in a bid to transform the energy provider into a “central controlling hub” for all energy related matters in the home.