NPS Blog

Power to the customer: How E.ON became more customer centric

Net Promoter System podcastTrue monopolies don’t worry about customer loyalty. If you don’t have competitors, you don’t need to invest in service, innovation or branding. You can also charge monopoly prices and fees.

Take the energy sector. In most countries, monopolies supplied energy to customers—and generally viewed them as faceless “meters” to be tracked and billed. Of course, the sector was regulated to protect customers from the worst of monopoly behavior, but for the most part, monopolies defined the limits of service, pricing, fees and policies, based on avoiding the wrath of regulators or politicians. The basis of competition certainly was not customer loyalty.

Deregulation changed everything. Utilities suddenly faced competitors for the first time. Customers in deregulated regions had new options, and energy providers had to work harder to keep their business. Surviving required a dramatic shift in culture. That’s the story of my next guests on the Net Promoter System Podcast.

EON's Olivier Mourrieras, Rene Matthies and Guntram WurzbergLike others in the industry, European energy provider E.ON has taken drastic steps to improve service and adapt to a climate of customer choice. I recently talked to three E.ON executives about how they’re using the Net Promoter System to develop new ways of thinking at their company.

As the head of E.ON’s Customer Experience Centre of Competence, Olivier Mourrieras has led the charge. Under his watch, the company adopted the Net Promoter System’s inner-loop mechanism to collect and disseminate customer feedback to teams, which enables them to evaluate their approach to service. The company also uses the system’s outer loop to identify and address broader systemic issues—the root causes of customers’ complaints.

The system has helped E.ON change the way it handles customers’ calls, for example. Before the industry’s deregulation, the company measured the success of its call centers by call duration: The shorter the time on the phone, the better. Now a call is considered successful if it resolves a customer’s complaint so thoroughly that it eliminates future calls. That means calls with customers sometimes are longer; however, this new approach has reduced the company’s costs and improved customers’ satisfaction. It might sound like old hat to some companies, but for E.ON, it took tremendous effort and focus.

E.ON has applied the Net Promoter System so rigorously that it is used not only with customers, but also to gauge the performance of internal departments, such as IT, human resources and auditing—groups that don’t interact directly with external customers. “From an end-to-end process point of view, everybody is actually, in the end, serving our external customers,” Olivier says.

René Matthies, chief financial officer for E.ON UK, and Guntram Wurzberg, E.ON’s director for corporate audit, joined Olivier on the podcast to share their insights and advice. Guntram was a pioneer with internal Net Promoter System. Adopting it for the auditing function, he says, changed staff morale and helped them align with E.ON’s mission.

We also explore E.ON’s Net Promoter journey in our latest Loyalty Insights.

To hear more about E.ON’s culture change, you can listen to the latest episode of the Net Promoter System Podcast on iTunes or through the player below. Click here to browse more Net Promoter System Podcast episodes.

Subscribe to the Net Promoter System Podcast on iTunes

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