Transparency and collaboration: the key to happy customers

From small-scale generation and storage, to electric vehicles and interconnectors, a dynamic new group of customers has a new list of demands and expectations for our business. Hedd Roberts, Head of Customer Solutions, reveals what we’re doing to satisfy them.

The priorities and expectations of our customers have changed quite dramatically in the past few years.

While, traditionally, our customer base was made up of large, recognisable energy supply companies and established distribution networks, a new generation has quickly emerged

Driven by Britain’s shift towards renewable energy, these customers are looking to connect new types of infrastructure to our transmission network. There are those developing smaller-scale renewable generation and storage, people investing in interconnectors with mainland Europe and, most recently, those preparing the way for the expected rise in electric vehicles on our roads.

New customers arrive with new expectations. Where long-established customers understood our long and complicated connection process, emerging customers have a need for speed.

They want to be connected fast, so they can get their product and infrastructure up and running more quickly – and start making money for their businesses and investors.

What’s more, they’re looking for connections that are more bespoke than before. In an increasingly cost-competitive industry, price is a big factor too.

What’s clear is that moving away from a traditional customer base that knew us very well, to one with less knowledge of our industry – and distinct new needs – brings with it new challenges.

Adapting for the future

Satisfying customers in this changing landscape requires us to be flexible, collaborative and innovative.

It’s all about moving to a world where we give customers more control over the connection process - and where it’s simple and convenient for them to find information that helps them navigate our complex industry and its procedures.

To achieve these goals, we’re developing innovative new tools and systems. Through our new website, we’re providing more information and transparency than ever before. We’re aiming, too, to build new digital solutions that let customers quickly test the feasibility of their projects without having to commit valuable time to talking to us at such an early stage.

As we move forward, there are lots of opportunities for web-based technology to grow. I’d like to see a future world where connections perhaps become a fully digital process, delivering ultimate customer convenience.

Capturing the best ideas

Our efforts to engage and satisfy customers don’t end there. We recently introduced the Net Promoter System, an approach to gathering feedback and insights. I believe that, more and more, great ideas to innovate and change will come from our customers themselves, and the Net Promoter System is a fantastic tool for capturing the right ideas to build upon.

While advanced systems, technologies and approaches are important, customer satisfaction ultimately comes down to the people who get closest to our customers. That’s why we’re

looking to reorganise our connections employees into more customer-centric, multi-disciplinary teams. So instead of operating as separate functions, our power system engineers, feasibility engineers, account managers will work together to put customers’ needs first, which I believe could make a big difference.

Supporting electric dreams

Looking ahead, I expect customers’ expectations to continue along the same path. In order to satisfy them, we’ll continue to deliver the engineering excellence we’re trusted and respected for, while remaining open to change. By being more transparent and providing tools that help customers play a proactive part in the connections process, we can continue to support all our customers’ electric dreams.