screens to get to such information. It was confounding for a call
center staff that’s increasingly young and has grown up in the
point-and-click internet era; the new system falls much more in
these employees’ comfort zone.
“They were configuring their own screens within weeks,” says
Tony Bridgeman, who as business transformation manager in
Bord Gáis’ energy business answered directly to Bunworth and
was the person charged with delivering the new billing system.
The Oracle platform also has enabled Bord Gáis to start
delving into customer segmentation for the first time. The
old legacy system provided almost no insight into customers,
preventing the company from analyzing its interactions with
customers based on their relative value. A customer that spent
€ 20,000 a year was treated no differently than one who spent
€ 4,000. Now, the company can
offer customers tailored services
The company plans to build
on its newfound customer relationship management (CRM)
foundation by bolstering the
system to take its relationship with customers to another level. Last year, Bunworth
and Bridgeman attended the Oracle OpenWorld conference
and were impressed by new functionality that’s likely to spur
Bord Gáis to upgrade the system in another 12 to 18 months
so they can take advantage of new customer-facing capabilities. As Bunworth notes, Bord Gáis is essentially a billing
company, and utility bills aren’t exactly tools for forging
bonds with customers. But new Web-based features soon to
be introduced will enable the company to leverage its emerging online interface to do exactly that.
“It’s about getting them to be able to manage their energy
and to interact with them more than to say, ‘You owe us
€ 2,147.37,’” Bunworth says. “It’s about the whole management
of that relationship with the customer. What we now know we
have is an accurate on-time billing system, but it will develop
CEO John Mullins, to whom Cunningham reports, says such
insight is critical if Bord Gáis is to maintain its hold on electric-
ity customers and remain competitive for the long term, espe-
cially now that the ESB is free to set its own prices.
“I’d like to understand why Mrs. Smith in Dublin or Mrs.
Jones in Galway doesn’t want to stay with us,” he says. “I can
only do that in the context of transactions on the billing site.
I need intelligence. I need a system to effectively tell me a lot
more about my customer.”
and mobile devices, and billing in smaller-than-ever increments.
“I need intelligence. I need a
system to effectively tell me a lot
more about my customer.”
—John Mullins, CEO, Bord Gáis
TONY KONTZER is a freelance writer based in Albany, California, and a regular
contributor to Profit.
What’s more, Mullins wants to be able to tap that insight to
reach out to customers in new and innovative ways.
Future success in the utility market won’t be achieved simply
through efficient energy service and billing. Utilities like Bord
Gáis are also preparing for an onslaught of customer data about
energy use, sharing that data with customers via the internet
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Oracle Solutions for Utilities
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