Case Study: UK Power Networks

How we provide UK Power Networks with cutting-edge cloud contact centre and communications integration services

Overview

  • UK Power Networks is the UK’s largest electricity distributor, delivering power to over 8 million business and residential properties which equates to more than 20 million people.
  • It generates over £1.1 billion in revenue every year, and employs 5,000 people. 500 of these operate in its customer-facing contact centres, distributed across geographically disparate offices.
  • Its 160,000km of cabling serves London, the UK’s most heavily populated area, the South East, the largest per-capita consumer of power in the UK, and the East of England.
  • UK Power Networks has migrated its communications estate to Content Guru’s storm platform in a series of phases, enabling it to address its pressing communications requirements, and then to leverage the platform’s rich depth of features to improve other areas of its infrastructure.

storm enables…

  • 94% compliance with service levels, eliminating penalties and even qualifying for incentive bonuses
  • 1000%+ normal contact levels handled seamlessly using storm SHIELD’s massive capacity in the cloud
  • 93% of contacts now self-serve via voice, web chat, SMS and soon social media
  • <10 second response times due to enhanced real-time analytics
  • 50% reduction in repeat callers through storm SHOUT’s pro-active SMS capabilities
  • To-the-second accuracy in provisioning of personalised information

Overview

  • UK Power Networks is the UK’s largest electricity distributor, delivering power to over 8 million business and residential properties which equates to more than 20 million people.
  • It generates over £1.1 billion in revenue every year, and employs 5,000 people. 500 of these operate in its customer-facing contact centres, distributed across geographically disparate offices.
  • Its 160,000km of cabling serves London, the UK’s most heavily populated area, the South East, the largest per-capita consumer of power in the UK, and the East of England.
  • UK Power Networks has migrated its communications estate to Content Guru’s storm platform in a series of phases, enabling it to address its pressing communications requirements, and then to leverage the platform’s rich depth of features to improve other areas of its infrastructure.

storm enables…

  • 94% compliance with service levels, eliminating penalties and even qualifying for incentive bonuses
  • 1000%+ normal contact levels handled seamlessly using storm SHIELD’s massive capacity in the cloud
  • 93% of contacts now self-serve via voice, web chat, SMS and soon social media
  • <10 second response times due to enhanced real-time analytics
  • 50% reduction in repeat callers through storm SHOUT’s pro-active SMS capabilities
  • To-the-second accuracy in provisioning of personalised information

The Challenge…

“Initially we looked to Content Guru to address a point requirement; protecting our contact centres from the overwhelming volumes of traffic during periods of service disruption. In this, storm exceeded our expectations. The platform not only keeps our frontline communications live, even when we hit our peaks, but it also allows us to make substantial operational savings.

“After addressing our core customer-facing issues, we were so impressed with the platform that we began to use it to address other areas of the business. storm enabled us to start engaging with customers pro-actively, across different channels, without needing to hire more agents—in fact, because we now automate most of our enquiries through the platform, we’re able to free up our agents to deal with higher-value customer enquiries.

“Beyond external communications, storm enables us to optimise our own internal management with its real-time analytics, which helped us massively reduce response times. And because storm lets us introduce new features as and when we need them, we’re able to continually optimise every aspect of how we communicate; there’s already a roadmap for further improvements!”

Romolo Falcucci, Technical Architect, UK Power Networks

The Problem

As the UK’s largest DNO, UKPN’s network faces enormous strains as it powers two of Europe’s most populated regions, biggest business hubs and largest tourist destinations. When disruptions to service occur, its contact centres are hit with a deluge of traffic from affected customers.

However, a finite number of contact centre agents and technology unable to process tens of times normal communications volumes during these outages meant that calls to UKPN would often not get through or be dropped. When callers did get through, agents would have to manually identify the caller’s location and even then could struggle to internally access the relevant data.

Moreover, while today’s consumer wants to be able to interact with organisations on their own terms and through their own devices, UKPN had little provision for multi-channel communications. It also had limited resources available for pro-active communications, which, which are especially critical when providing mission-critical power to vulnerable customers, such as those on dialysis machines.

All DNOs are ranked in a league table of customer service by industry regulator Ofgem, and these communications challenges impacted significantly on their performance on the leaderboard. With Ofgem able to issue penalties of 1% of revenues for DNOs which fail to provide satisfactory service levels, UKPN had added incentive to optimise its frontline customer communications.

But service improvements were thwarted by a sprawling enterprise communications estate improvised from tens of IT suppliers, which included five different Management Information systems requiring a week to manually compile a holistic, and already outdated, report. This legacy equipment came with huge ongoing support and maintenance overheads which, with UKPN pressured to keep costs down, prevented the possibility of upgrading their systems to meet demand.

The Solution

UK Power Networks initially chose Content Guru’s storm cloud communications integration platform to protect its contact centre. storm’s enormous capacity ensures that UKPN’s communications infrastructure remains active on a 24-hour basis, even when customer demand skyrockets during outages. Customers are able to speak their postcodes to enable agents to rapidly handle enquiries.

storm then integrated with ENMAC, UKPN’s electricity monitoring system, to feed real-time data into services; customers can navigate over-the-phone to access automated voice prompts with up-to-date information on power status in their area. Furthermore, the introduction of integrated multi-channel services, including an interface on the website, enables UKPN to pro-actively engage with customers across their preferred channel, such as automated SMS updates during an outage or live web chat with an agent.

For customers wanting to speak to an agent, storm’s communications integration feeds information, such as known customer contact numbers which it can use to determine location, and immediately routes the call to the best available agent to handle the enquiry. These enhancements enabled UKPN to substantially improve its customer satisfaction levels and move up the Ofgem leaderboard, eliminating penalties and even qualifying for bonuses from the regulator.

Additionally, by integrating storm’s reporting tool, VIEW, with its vast communications estate, UKPN is now able to view all relevant data about power outages and customer contacts in real-time. This ensures UKPN can react to changing circumstances in real time, and safeguards vulnerable customers who can be immediately aided.

storm’s cloud delivery model enabled UKPN to access these features on a pay-per-use basis, rather than having to make large capital investments, and massively reduces ongoing support & maintenance costs. UK Power Networks is hence able to substantially reduce costs while optimising its communications capabilities. The flexibility of the storm platform enables it to continually provide additional features to UKPN, as and when required.

Migration Timeline

storm SHIELD protects UKPN from sudden peaks in demand by providing personalised service on a mass scale.
2008
storm SPEAK allows customers to speak their postcodes so they can be identified more rapidly.
storm SURE automatically identifies customers by looking up their phone numbers or postcodes in back-end systems.
storm FLOW allows multi-channel workflows to be configured quickly and easily for rapid customisation of messages.
2009
storm INTEGRATE:ENMAC links to live outage information to provide customers with instant access to relevant data.
storm SHOUT proactively informs customers of problems with their power supplies by SMS.
storm RESPONSE:SMS lets customers register for SMS updates, capturing mobile numbers for UKPN’s database.
2010
storm VIEW provides detailed real-time and historical analytics across UKPN’s emergency call handling lines.
storm INTEGRATE:ASPECT combines storm‘s real-time metrics with information from existing on-premise systems.
storm LOSS allows UKPN’s command and control operators to rapidly update messages through a touch screen interface.
storm RESPONSE:WEB enables customers to submit requests for power information online via self-service and web chat.
2011
storm RECORDER ensures that all calls to UKPN’s back-up contact centres can be captured via network-based recording.
storm CONTACT provides a full contact centre in the cloud, replacing UKPN’s legacy systems across 500 agents.
2012
storm VIEW:DASHBOARD combines real-time data across web chat, voice, email and SMS enquiries to drive consistent customer service.
storm DIAL reaches out to vulnerable customers when power outages occur to ensure priority service can be provided.
storm INTEGRATE:PBX allows back office users and contact centre agents to collaborate seamlessly on a single system.
storm LOCK takes PCI-compliant payments from customers whilst allowing agents to stay on the line to assist the caller.
2013
storm INTEGRATE:SAP enables dynamic routing of contacts and ensures agents have the customer information they need.
storm ASK will enable customers to leave feedback across their preferred channels, enabling UKPN to further optimise service levels.
2014

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