E.ON had a well-trained team, a focused digital marketing strategy, and impeccable service and products. Their chat agents had layers of in-depth knowledge, and a willingness to help customers. They had fast, reliable chat software.
So why weren’t the pieces coming together? Why did customers bypass their chat and prefer to email or call with their customer service requests?
Without specific training on how to speak to customers, all the technology and knowledge in the world will fall flat.
In this case study, we’re going to show you how The Chat Shop was able to partner with E.ON to provide the final piece to the puzzle and helped them put together a seamless strategy and outstanding Net Promoter Scores (NPS) using conversation.
E.ON, one of the leading energy service providers in the UK, provides not just traditional gas and electric, but a range of solutions and services such as solar, cavity wall installation, electric vehicles, and smart meters. All electricity supplied by E.ON is from renewable sources, and provides power to over 5 million customers in the UK. Customer service is at the heart of the business - and over the years, they have adapted to how their customers engage with the brand through various contact channels.
Chris Nicholson is Digital Channel Manager at E.ON and brings over 15 years of experience in the role. He is responsible for all digital concept channels; live chat, email, social media, and app messaging, and project manages all of the technology. From consulting on the strategy to ensuring continuous improvements.
Chris and the digital team are always looking at improving efficiency, scaling operations, and delivering an outstanding customer experience.
Through analysing internal data, the digital team were aware some channels were performing better than others and looked to understand why. The data showed that chat as a channel was not the primary method of communication its customers used to reach the brand. E.ON customers prefer to use phone and email, telling the brand they distrust chat and automated services. This was troubling, because for many companies, having chat as a first touchpoint was extremely cost-effective, and much more scalable than other methods.
Improve the provision and perception of chat across the business (and) for its customers
The digital team realised that it could be doing more, and that other companies were delivering outstanding NPS scores through chat.E.ON wanted to match this, but they had questions about their current chat strategy and needed support.
They needed to get the basics right and build up from there - the challenge was that even though they had a vast wealth of knowledge, they didn't know the proven basics of how to properly use conversation to connect with people through chat. E.ON needed an expert in the chat space to carry out a consultancy approach to their current operations and to answer some of their pressing questions;
Is our chat strategy possible and the right one – is it what you’d expect to see?
Have we got our chat services set up for success - from our operating structure to where we put chat on our website?
Is our data telling us something we’re missing – relationship between agent and queue measures?
How can we get more from our advisors – are they giving more than enough or is there room for improvement?
How do we best manage our resourcing - and work chat and in-app messaging together (sync Vs async) plus demand mix?
What’s missing from our training – from advisor to team leader to contact centre manager to director of customer service?
The brand's goal was to deliver the best chat customer experience, and they had set a few Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure they were living up to their strategy (such as answering 80% of customers within 90 seconds, for example).
An in-depth health check to formulate objectives and present a robust chat strategy
The challenges that E.ON faced were not uncommon for many companies who had led their own chat strategy, having realised it was only taking them so far. The strategy needed some attention and a steer in the right direction.
Now with a deeper understanding of the challenges that EON faced, a starting point was to outline the vision or goal the partnership was working towards - “Making it easy for your customers to smile while they chat.”
The Chat Shop would conduct an in-depth review of the current chat process and propose a new chat strategy backed by a training program and quality framework.
It is one thing having the right strategy, but to deliver on that strategy, it is vital to have an approach that underpins it all. The Chat Shop outlined seven building blocks for success. One of the core building blocks was people.
One of the fundamental practices of running a successful chat environment is finding, developing, and maintaining a proficient team of advisors. The Chat Shop provided tips and best practices in this area. With over 9 years of expertise in the industry and having completed over 3 million conversations, the brand knows what it takes to hire and develop the best chat agents. From the initial screening of applicants through to the training and development. They have insights that cover the full chat agents' development journey and could make those recommendations to E.ON; for example, streamlining applicants through conversational elements of the process (which can be automated through a bot-based application).
Ensuring the right resources are in place to meet demand is vital. This required analysis of their current data, such as; site traffic volumes compared to delivery metrics, average handle time, and achievable chats per hour. The data would ensure that customers received the quality of service they deserved and E.ON could deliver to this expectation.
While it was evident the chat agents were knowledgeable regarding EON products, services and process, the effectiveness of the conversation was restricted by the agents' understanding of conversation control and environment management within this channel.
The Chat Shop reviewed chats through a purpose built quality assurance model, with a scoring system to help identify areas of improvement. The aim was to identify where improvements could be obtained by empowering the advisors to handle multiple conversations at an elevated level.
This is only scratching the surface of how The Chat Shop took an in-depth consultative approach to helping E.ON. Every company is unique, and The Chat Shop recognises and thrives on that.
Technology only gets you so far, but what we were looking for was the strategy, mirrored with technology, mirrored with people. With the aim to get the best out of our people and empower them to have powerful chat conversations.
Digital Contact Channel Manager - E.ON
A robust chat strategy that delivers improvements across a variety of NPS scores
The health check provided recommendations across various planning stages that produced quick win turnarounds for E.ON, and the figures speak for themselves. Having successfully completed the training and development framework from The Chat Shop they have achieved:
+10% improvement in overall NPS.
+7% improvement in NPS related to resolving customer queries (resolution measure).
+15% improvement in NPS relating to answering quickly and efficiently (responsiveness measure).
+21% improvement in NPS relating to how engaging and helpful our team is (engaging and helpful measure).
After deploying the training programme and quality framework to their in-house team and UK-based outsourcing partner, E.ON asked The Chat Shop to reengineer the programme for their India-based outsourcing partner. This is currently being rolled out to 15 members of their quality, training and management team to deploy to their wider operation, fully supporting the training and consultancy team. We look forward to seeing what results we can achieve.
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In case you hadn’t noticed, chat is very much our thing. So why not put us through our conversational paces and get in touch?
Do you feel like you have most of the puzzle pieces, but things aren’t quite fitting together to get you the results you want? If your company would like a health check of your current chat strategy to identify areas of improvement. We likely have the puzzle piece you’re missing.