This massive energy and home services provider was a fixture in the United Kingdom, with a long history of success, a strong reputation and a commanding market share. But, after spending decades as the industry leader, the organization began losing ground and was worried about being dethroned from its top position. The decline was fueled by a number of factors.

First and foremost, customer expectations had dramatically changed. Consumers wanted the same seamless, convenient experience they enjoyed with online shopping when they interacted with their energy provider—and the utility wasn’t set up to provide it. At the same time, new, smaller, more digitally savvy competitors were entering the market at unprecedented rates, eroding the company’s once dominant market share. As customers flocked to these new providers, company revenue significantly declined. To compound the challenge, new regulatory compliance changes, like capping prices, began to cut into the organization’s already declining margins. 

Company leaders knew that they had to stop the bleeding. To continue to compete, the company needed to: 

  • Substantially drive down operating costs.
  • Improve the customer experience to better compete in a competitive market.
  • Build a future-ready digital workforce.

Although the company attempted to create a robotics Center of Excellence to optimize processes on its own, it didn’t have the staff expertise to develop a scalable, sustainable solution. That’s why this energy provider turned to long-time partner EXL to orchestrate its digital transformation.

Context

EXL has extensive experience in all aspects of digital transformation—bringing data and digital together to together to create insight. Our expertise in robotic process automation (RPA), intelligent workflow and analytics, combined with our deep domain experience in the energy and utilities industry, enabled us to develop a transformational framework that brought maximum gains with minimal disruption. 

Instead of developing a plan that delayed ROI until the end of the transformation, EXL created a three-year approach that provided incremental gains with each phase of the project. So, the company could reduce costs, increase efficiencies and create a better customer experience more quickly, with each iteration building on the success of the last. 
 
Orchestration

The team created a digital transformation framework called EBITDA, which stood for Elimination, Bots, Insights, Technology, Design Thinking and Analytics, — each key components of the overall solution.

Elimination
Step one involved studying the existing processes and eliminating those that added no value. This prevented the client from investing in robotics to automate processes that really weren’t necessary to the overall workflow. 

Bots
After the processes were optimized, the EXL team began looking at how to bring humans and bots together, automating the redundant, repetitive tasks. During the course of the transformation, 200 robots were deployed to automate back office processes.

Insights
To improve customer and business outcomes, EXL leveraged its cutting-edge analytics and deep domain expertise to build a Data & Insights Command Center. With digitised processes enabling employees to focus on work that added value, the Data and Insights Command Centre generated insights and actionable initiatives to improve customer experience and reduce the cost of operations.  For example, with these embedded actionable insights in place, the organization could identify and correct issues with a customer’s bill before that bill was sent out, instead of reacting when a customer called in to report a problem.

Technology
EXL also invested in bespoke technology applications including a robust back office workforce optimisation solution to improve operational vigor and help agents be more productive. This holistic approach improved efficiency both by automation and empowering the remaining humans to accomplish more, more accurately, in less time.

Design Thinking
EXL used emerging technologies, such as advanced analytics and robotics, and design thinking to challenge the existing processes and identify spoken and unspoken needs. This included creating an environment in which the front end and field operations seamlessly connected with the back, making it an end-to-end journey for the customer. This change also enabled the entire organization to benefit from field operations’ insight, creating a continuous loop of communications and data aggregation. As a result, customer centricity was embedded throughout back office operations to deliver compelling experiences to the company’s clients.

Analytics
In the past, this gas and electricity provider studied random samples to build and test hypothesis. By applying analytics, machine learning and built-in controls, this customer can now use big data to capture insights from 12 million customers to gage quality—from billing accuracy to regulatory compliance, as well as other critical performance metrics. 

This initiative began in 2014. By 2017, all the elements were in place, working as a cohesive, comprehensive, digital solution. 

Outcomes

This RPA-powered, digital transformation has delivered measurable results for our client. It has delivered  ~$5.6 million in value, with $1.8 million in opex reduction and another $3.8 attributable from reduced revenue leakages, decreased regulatory non-compliance, reduced failure demand and other similar factors.

The volume of on-time billing rates has improved by 5 percent and, because this energy provider can now give its customers the type of service they demand, both retention and satisfaction has increased, as well.

Just as important, this UK energy leader is now positioned for further digital transformation and closing the last mile with initiatives combining digital interventions and human workers. EXL is currently working with this customer to implement their proprietary Model Office framework that brings advanced analytics, intelligent processing, artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, along with an operating model that focusses on customer centricity and an agile implementation.

As a result, the company will continue to maximize the value of this transformation.  

To find out more about how EXL uses digital intelligence to help energy providers reduce costs, improve customer retention and better compete in a changing market, contact us.

Summary

Client Challenge

  • Escalating operating costs  
  • Increased competition from smaller, more digitally savvy energy providers
  • Customer attrition
  • Reduced margins due to regulatory compliance changes

 
Context 

  • Leveraged deep domain expertise in the energy industry 
  • Extensive knowledge of how to create a transformative solution using robotics, workflow, and analytics to deliver positive outcomes quickly  
  • Experienced in orchestrating large-scale digital transformations 

Orchestration 

  • Eliminated processes that add no value 
  • Replaced the repetitive tasks with 200+ robots  
  • Applied analytics to proactively identify and correct issues before they reach customers  
  • Deployed workflow management tools to enhance operational vigor and agent productivity
  • Developed a more cohesive communication flow between field and back office operations for a more cohesive, end-to-end journey for the customer
  • Applied analytics and machine learning to use big data to capture inside from 12 million customers, taking insights to a new level

Outcomes

  • Delivered $5.6 million in value in 2017
  • -$1.8 million reduced through work elimination and robotics
  • -$3.8 million improvement by reducing revenue leakages, improving regulatory compliance, reducing failure demand etc.
  • Reduced incidence of delayed billing by 5%
  • Reduced customer attrition
  • Improved customer satisfaction