Northern Powergrid to Transform Contact Center in Partnership with Tata Consultancy Services and Content Guru

Northern Powergrid, the company responsible for the electricity distribution network across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire, is set to transform its contact center for the 8 million customers whose everyday life it powers.

The electricity distributor has awarded a contract to leading cloud communications provider, Content Guru, to enhance its contact center technology and help improve the experience for customers calling the company for advice and support.

Managed by teams who live and work in the communities the network operator powers, Northern Powergrid’s contact center will be upgraded with Content Guru’s multi-award-winning storm® contact center solution.

Delivered in partnership with the network operator’s IT partner, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), the deployment of the new technical solution will provide seamless and real-time information to Northern Powergrid’s customer base. The investment is part of Northern Powergrid’s commitment to increasing customer satisfaction, including associated industry customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, delivering a best-in-class customer service experience and improving the systems its colleagues use every day to deliver their vital role as part of the team that manages the region’s essential electricity infrastructure.

As part of the contract, Northern Powergrid will replace its legacy customer communications technology with Content Guru’s cutting-edge storm cloud solution which will provide intelligent automation and mass-messaging technology for proactive outbound communications to support customers who need information and advice.

The upgrade will provide Northern Powergrid’s local teams with enhanced information capabilities and an agile omni-channel customer engagement hub. This means both voice and digital communication channels can be processed together to provide a seamless customer experience. The new hub will help the network operator meet consumers’ aspirations for choice in the ways they access Northern Powergrid’s support. This support includes everything from getting advice and updates during a power cut to finding out how to organise a new electricity connection.

Chris Morris, Head of Customer Service Operations at Northern Powergrid, said: “Empowering our teams to better support our customers and meet their needs both now and in the future is key.

“With around nine out of 10 customers happy with the services we provide, we want to take the next step to further improve customer satisfaction.  This technology will provide firm foundations for our customer service operations so we can respond to the different needs of our customers and the diverse communities we power. By using Content Guru’s extensive experience, we will be able to deliver more efficient, effective and bespoke customer communication using the channels our customers want and value.  This will be particularly important when supporting our customers who may be more vulnerable.

“As the region decarbonises and low carbon technologies, such as electric vehicles increase, our customers will increasingly rely on us to power every element of their life from heat and lighting to how they travel to work. They will interact with us more in the future so having a system that can scale and adapt to our future needs is a positive step as we prepare our plans for 2023 and beyond.”

Varun Kapur, Vice President and Head of Manufacturing & Utilities for the UK and Ireland at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), said: “TCS is excited to be part of this flagship transformation as a Strategic Partner. We welcome Content Guru in the digital transformation journey for Northern Powergrid. TCS believes this transformation will pave the way for a flow of sustained and effective communication to the customers using AI-driven intelligent automation and ramp up high volume call handling capability for critical business scenarios.”

Shub Naha, Head of Utilities at Content Guru, added: “Content Guru is thrilled to welcome Northern Powergrid as our newest utilities customer. We have a wealth of experience in the energy sector, connecting the public with the critical information they need, especially during power outages when speed, accuracy and high capacity are all required. We have a record of helping our customers achieve impressive satisfaction scores, and we’re excited to see what we can achieve with Northern Powergrid.

“With virtually limitless scalability and deep integration to utilities’ IT systems and Artificial Intelligence, our award-winning storm solution is a great fit for any organisation contemplating digital transformation.”

Northern Powergrid’s award-winning contact centre is based in Penshaw in the North East of England. The new technology will be trialled over the coming months ready for wider implementation this year.

Northern Powergrid, as part of its planning for 2023 and beyond, has recently launched its draft business plan which includes proposals to improve customer service across its operations. As part of its draft plan the network operator proposes to improve customer satisfaction by introducing new channels, greater on-site support and choice when booking planned services, and providing greater choice and flexibility for customers on how and when they can interact with Northern Powergrid. Over the coming months Northern Powergrid will be engaging with its customers and other key stakeholders to understand if they agree and accept its proposals in readiness for submitting its final business plan for 2023-28 to the energy regulator, Ofgem, on 1 December 2021.