Energy giant EDF claims to have improved customer service by using data to predict customer behaviour, after it had to fork out £3 million to Ofgem in compensation last year, as a result of a breach of complaint handling rules caused by a problematic SAP migration.
The firm failed to implement procedures to correctly receive, record and process customer’s complaints during the migration of a new IT system.
It has now placed a new team of data analysts into its separate business and residential branches to use the SAP Power BI tools effectively.
The SME team supports all the business customer operations and is working on delivering predictive, rather than reactive, insights into the behaviour of its 200,000 customers and how to better use resources, for example deploying customer service staff more effectively based on their hours and calls that come through.
The ten-strong data team took two and a half years to understand and prepare usable data from its SAP CRM, billing and metering system as well as the Genesys telephony system which records customer calls, to produce reporting tools for people management, amongst others.
It was experiencing the "usual headaches" with Microsoft Office tools like Excel spreadsheets and Access databases to share information and send reports to middle and upper management, but after EDF's residential arm's success with Qlik software, it got acceptance from the executives and the data team were able to deploy licenses to middle management and above.
Nathan Hodge, analytics and reporting manager at EDF said: "The big problem we needed to overcome was that we had all of this data, but we wanted to relate it to each other across different departments, and see how certain customer traits might cause us to change the way we serve them."
Since rolling out Qlik, which connects directly to SAP and Geneysys and the odd spreadsheet that a call centre employee may have to use to input extra customer information, in 2013 EDF’s analysts have saved “150 to 200 hours in button pressing time", he said.
"We have automated dozens of reports which means we have more time to work on providing foresight to the business about what customers want and when they will want it.”
The team is using customer’s payment methods, contracts and business sizes to start to predict trends and use these indicators to help the business personalise and create new products. But crucially, they are able to self-serve through Qlik dashboards, rather than asking for what they want from the analysts.
Using Qlik has assisted EDF through its work with Ofgem. It sends customer service reports to the regulator regularly, and using Qlik it can automate this process, freeing up analyst’s time to better understand customer behaviour.
“Part of that whole situation was the fact that we migrated from one system to another the way that we have helped the most was understanding customers and when they are going to call us and making sure we are resourced effectively. Complaints is a huge area of focus for us.”
Did it take the compensation payout for the firm to get its head around using data as a tool?
“I would say we are probably as smart about using our data as most big companies our size, so I think the way the tide is turning is now much more toward data in the right people’s hands. We were have always had good handling of data but I think our journey is now about pushing that, to anticipate what is going to happen."