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Reference Number NIA_ENWL018
Title Project Avatar
Status Completed
Energy Categories OTHER POWER and STORAGE TECHNOLOGIES(Electricity transmission and distribution) 75%;
OTHER CROSS-CUTTING TECHNOLOGIES or RESEARCH(Environmental, social and economic impacts) 25%;
Research Types Applied Research and Development 100%
Science and Technology Fields SOCIAL SCIENCES (Business and Management Studies) 75%;
SOCIAL SCIENCES (Sociology) 25%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Consumer attitudes and behaviour) 100%
Principal Investigator Project Contact
No email address given
Electricity North West Limited
Award Type Network Innovation Allowance
Funding Source ENA Smarter Networks
Start Date 01 October 2016
End Date 01 December 2019
Duration 38 months
Total Grant Value £1,600,000
Industrial Sectors Power
Region North West
Programme Network Innovation Allowance
Investigators Principal Investigator Project Contact , Electricity North West Limited (100.000%)
Web Site
Objectives Delivering customer interactions in a technologically advanced seamless system manner will only impact on the costs and quality of a system operators operations if the customer responds positively to that interaction. ; To broaden the level of understanding concerning customer service needs and future expectations; To have a robust measure of anticipated future attitudes, behaviours and needs by customer segment; To integrate customer research with existing service provisions and innovative solutions to optimise a customer service approach, enabling a strategy for DNOs to meet the future needs and expectations of its customer base; To facilitate the creation of bespoke customer service solutions targeted at specific customer groups to meet their unique medium and long term future needs ; A blueprint for implementing bespoke customer service solutions incorporating a link to network control systems and data The project success criteria are:; An understanding of current and future customer service needs and how unmet needs might be addressed; Identification of a range of innovative solutions that best meet customers increased servicing expectations; Reactions to mass customer contact capabilities and identification of the optimal strategy in terms of automation and interactivity; An appreciation of the variations in acceptability and applicability of innovative technologies and solutions across key customer segments and groups ; A customer service blueprint, which incorporates data from existing network control systems, to best meet existing and future needs of specific customer groups and leverage higher levels of customer satisfaction; A demonstration of how innovative technologies and solutions can assist DNOs to better plan their customer investment strategy
Abstract The customer service landscape is changing. Wide spectrums of political, economic, social, demographic and technological factors are accelerating a shift in customers’ needs and expectations, with some sectors adopting more radical customer service solutions to match to their customer base. Customers today are better informed and more empowered than ever before. DNOs need to understand and predict customers’ current and future needs to ensure they maintain and improve upon the level of service provided. Continuous investment is required in the right technologies and techniques that best meet the needs of different customers. An understanding of functional and emotional service needs, by specific customer group, will be key in informing DNO policies and investment plans for ED2 and beyond. To facilitate a comprehensive understanding of the future of customer service, the method will encompass six key phases of customer and stakeholder engagement: Phase One: Current Trends A literature/desktop review to gain contextual understanding regarding the future of customer service from a range of different industry sectors. This will consider existing data and literature on future needs and possible customer service concepts and/or known solutions from the UK and other international sources. Learning will be transferred from initiatives that have already and are expected to radically change customer service, such as online self-serve (financial sector) and on demand services (transport, travel and tourism) and remote interactive services. Phase one will culminate in the publication of the proposed project methodology statement which will be peer reviewed. The methodology will be refined as a result of consultation with key experts in phase two. Phase Two: Expert Thinking This phase of research will involve workshops and consultation with a range of specialist organisations to understand in detail potential new and future innovations in customer services, building upon the knowledge developed in phase one. Discussion with leading manufacturers of innovative technologies and relevant trade associations will identify developments that could if required be in production during ED2 and beyond. The emphasis will be on technical innovations that hybridize commercial considerations with customers’ service expectations, applicability and acceptability. We will also consult with organisations, identified in the desk research, that are embracing new techniques, along with experts in the field of customer service e. g. Institute of Customer Service, to understand longer term strategies and visions of future service. Finally, engagement with Electricity North West (ENWL) customer service staff, closest to the current issues and needs of the customer, will advise the project from the bottom up. Expert thinking in phase two will assist in evaluating the proposed approach and refining the research questions that will be explored with customers in subsequent stages. Phase Three: Exploratory Research with Customers Qualitative research will be conducted in the form of an engaged customer panel (ECP); a series of focus groups with a range of customers from target segments, including, but not limited to, domestic, commercial, urban, rural and the young (18-24 year olds). Supplementary depth interviews will also be conducted with representatives of specific customer sectors such as vulnerable customers. This phase will explore customer needs, both current and future, and reactions to specific customer service concepts identified and techniques evaluated in phase two. This will take place in partnership with experts in the field of customer service and technical innovation. . Initial discussions will evaluate short, medium and long term macro customer service requirements. Subsequent discussion will focus on micro needs, with an exploration of future customer service expectations by DNO touch point (including but not limited to supply interruptions, connections and general enquiries). Reactions to potential new services and techniques, designed to improve standards and efficiency, and make customers lives easier or more enriched, will be assessed. Phase Four: Pilot Survey A draft quantitative questionnaire will be piloted with the ECP. The instrument will be revised as necessary, based on ECP feedback, before being piloted with previously unengaged domestic and commercial customers. The survey will also be peer reviewed before it is finalised and rolled out more widely in phase five. Phase Five: Quantifying Customer Needs A large scale statistically robust quantitative survey amongst ENWL customers will quantify customer service requirements. The survey will be designed to test how existing customer service needs and expectations vary by customer segment and/or touch-point and how they may evolve in the future. The survey will also quantify which needs and expectations are most important in driving current measures of customer satisfaction and therefore warrant investment. The survey will include psychographic, demographic, geographic and behavioural related questions. Analysis will identify how needs and expectations vary across different customer segments to inform the development of a blueprint for future customer service provision. Phase Six: Meeting Customer Needs Engagement with ENWL customers to test solutions using delivery technologies identified in project that will inform a blueprint for customer delivery to address future customer service needs. Insight generated from phases one to five will be utilised to develop the design concepts for testing in phase six. The quantitative survey will be piloted before it is rolled out more widely. This research will identify how ENWL can satisfy/best serve currently unmet needs and tailor their services according to the bespoke future expectations of specific customer segments. Medium and long term customer service concepts will be evaluated to establish the acceptance of a range of technologies and approaches to meet the future needs of ENWLs’ customers. Any variation in appeal and acceptability by key customer segment will also be assessed. The survey will also identify the likely level of support and behaviour change required by DNOs to facilitate implementation.Note : Project Documents may be available via the ENA Smarter Networks Portal using the Website link above
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 26/10/18