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The Digital Experience of Customers Engaging with DNOs: Part 3

Marcel Volkerts
Jul 09, 2020

Power pylon

This blog was coauthored by Alex Jakeman and Lawrence Shaw (Sitemorse Ltd).

DNOs Need to Focus on People, Process, and Technology to Improve Digital Experiences for Their Customers

In Part 2 of this blog series, Guidehouse highlighted that the quality of digital experiences across sectors can vary significantly. UK distribution network operators (DNOs) have a significant opportunity to enhance their customers’ digital experience by improving the accessibility and privacy of their websites. These improvements minimize the risk of noncompliance with crucial regulation and will lead to increased trust and engagement from customers that DNOs may want to access when procuring flexibility services.

Digital customer interaction is a never-ending journey, characterized by a four-part life cycle:

  • Digitization strategy. Sets the goals and objectives for the digital customer experience and how they should be met (among other things).
  • Customer Experience Design (CX). Design digital channels for optimal customer interaction—of which a company's website is arguably the most important, and typically updated every 2-3 years.
  • Building Digital Assets. Translate CX into fully functional digital assets such as a website.
  • Operation and Maintenance (O&M). Makes minor but frequent adjustments to content and design elements, such as posting news and adding project pages and photos.

Digitization strategy is typically developed in house by DNOs, Guidehouse can assist to ensure optimal alignment with an organization's overall strategic goals, market developments, and regulatory requirements. CX and the building of digital assets is often outsourced to marketing and communication agencies or to web design shops. Such organizations don't always focus on the accessibility and compliance requirements that are important to DNOs. Guidehouse can help with vendor selection and quality assurance, leveraging Sitemorse's technology for automated compliance testing.

Digitization strategies typically undergo major updates every 3-5 years and websites are refreshed every 2-3 years. However, the day-to-day O&M of digital assets like websites probably carries the highest risk of involuntary noncompliance, resulting from many minor adjustments to meet the changing needs of stakeholders. Over the next few months, UK DNOs will be updating their digitization strategies following feedback from the energy regulator (Ofgem). Ofgem’s feedback highlighted that there is a lot of improvement to be made in terms of ensuring progress can be demonstrated.

DNO Processes Must Have Support from Technology and People

By setting out the appropriate processes that are supported by technology and people, DNOs can demonstrate a measurable improvement in delivering high quality digital customer experiences:

  • People: Ensure clarity of responsibility and accountability for maintaining and improving digital channels to align with stakeholder needs and changing regulation. Develop or obtain the appropriate capabilities and skillsets to navigate the digital technology landscape successfully.
  • Process: Develop processes that support the delivery of consistent, high quality outputs across all digital channels. Engage with stakeholders to obtain feedback that helps deliver continuous improvement.
  • Technology: Use available technology to support the efficient and effective review and identification of issues that may negatively impact digital customer experiences and compliance with the regulation.

Leveraging Guidehouse’s global experience in delivering digital customer programs and Sitemorse’s technology for digital assessments, we can support DNOs in improving the ability of their digitization strategies to deliver improved digital experiences for customers. In this three-part blog series, we have provided initial insights across the industry. However, the maturity of individual organizations varies. Guidehouse and Sitemorse would like to offer DNOs a company-specific summary report that highlights the strengths and weaknesses of existing websites. This report will help organizations determine to what extent their future strategies, processes, and technologies can evolve to deliver consistently great digital customer experiences.

We invite you to contact us to set up a time to discuss this blog series or other topics: