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Switched on CIO: Simon Clarke of Trustpower

Divina Paredes | March 6, 2015
Clarke treaded quite an unusual career path – corporate lawyer, CEO, and now general manager business solutions and technology for Trustpower.

A lot of thinking went on the user experience, he says. The new site made it easy for customers to explore and select relevant services, view account data across all service lines in one place and access useful and relevant content for selecting services and managing each utility account.

It's a first for New Zealand, he says, by giving customers the ability to see all their electricity, reticulated gas, LPG bottled gas, phone and broadband services in a single view.

At the same time, the platform allows Trustpower's marketers to easily create and personalise content, as well as establish and run targeted campaigns, and optimise content while reacting to market changes much faster.

In the past, the website did not have the functionality for customers to sign up online and required customers to sign up via other channels, through the call centres or in person.

The new site simplified the sign-up process including integrated credit checking and pushing sign-up data into backend systems. It includes automated workflows which frees up time from manual processing of sign-up and service provisioning actions. As the site is built using responsive Web design, customers are also able to easily sign up on a mobile device.

Now, one year following the site launch, Clarke estimates between 10 to 15 per cent of new acquisitions each week are being completed through the website.

The website has also enabled Trustpower to increase the number of services purchased by each customer, as most customers signing up online take both energy and telco services.

There has been a 272 per cent increase in traffic to the site on average each month, with a 230 per cent increase in site traffic from search engines.

"When we sell our customers more than electricity, they get more value through a bundle and we get value because those customers are less likely to leave us," he says. "The cost of churn is huge so it is far better to retain existing customers."

He says the Government funded Electricity Authority website 'What's my number' has driven a whole lot of churn in the electricity market, as customers are able to check the best power deal for them.

"Customer churn in NZ sits between 20 to 25 percent on a per annum basis. That means more than 1 in 5 customers changes electricity suppliers each year. Along with Victoria, NZ has the highest churn rates in the world.

"Hopefully, providing our customers with multiple utility products and focusing on a high quality service will mean our customers will stay with us because they see more value with us."

The results of the new website have exceeded the targets Trustpower set prior to going live, with significant increases in the number of new customers acquired online and number of services used by each customer, as well as decreases in customer churn and the cost of customer acquisition.


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