MaritzCX Energizes Reliant’s Customer Experience
Reliant Energy, a Houston-based utility that provides electricity, heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and home security services to residential and business customers across Texas, realized some time ago that it had to shift its focus to customer experience (CX).
Placing a high priority on customers is essential in Texas, where customers can choose from more than 50 energy providers and hundreds of electricity plans.
In this deregulated market, customer retention and acquisition are the main challenges, according to Suzie Dieth, director of customer experience at Reliant, a subsidiary of NRG Energy. “It’s very easy for someone to switch from one electricity provider to another. Reliant wanted to differentiate itself based on the service we provide our customers,” she says.
With this in mind, Reliant implemented its CX program in phases. From 2009 through 2013, it focused on its call center, and in 2014 evolved its CX program further with the goal of raising its Net Promoter Score (NPS).
But the CX improvement program really gained steam in 2016 when Reliant first partnered with MaritzCX, a provider of customer experience software and services. “We were looking for an organization that could be part of the bigger-picture solution with us, not just a survey platform,” Dieth recalls. “We were looking for a platform and a tool that could evolve with us and that we could leverage as our program evolved.”
The major focus of these efforts has been revamping Reliant’s customer surveys.
Using MaritzCX’s portal, Reliant can now quickly and easily create surveys at different touchpoints, for different brands, for different customer segments, and at different points in the life cycle, Dieth says. “Really, that was an important piece of advancing our CX program and to engage the entire organization so that we could give relevant feedback to key departments,” she adds.
Reliant uses this feedback to train its internal team, which has significantly reduced the number of complaints it receives. When complaints or customer suggestions are made, the Reliant CX team makes every attempt to address them as quickly as possible.
As an example, one common concern Reliant kept hearing from customers was in relation to billing, with many factors affecting how much they would have to pay from one month to the next. In response, Reliant created a weekly email that is sent to customers updating them on their energy usage. The weekly email uses smart meters to capture usage throughout the day to give customers an estimate of what their bill will be and how they compare to similar homes in their areas. It’s a way for Reliant to be transparent, remove pain points, and show that they’re looking out for their customers.
Beyond the basic surveys, company executives contact customers quarterly to hear firsthand about their experiences with the company based on comments they shared in the surveys.
With MaritzCX, Reliant has seen a 65 percent reduction in its survey and analysis costs and has increased its number of touchpoints surveyed by 220 percent. Its annual customer renewal rate is the highest it’s ever been. And its NPS has increased by 152 percent as a result of its CX efforts.
Going forward, Reliant looks to build on its current success. “We are really focused on continuing to evolve our maturity level as an organization, ingraining customer experience and putting the customer at the center of every decision across the organization, into the hands of everyone no matter where they sit,” Dieth says.
The ultimate goal, she adds, is that with every decision and every interaction, everyone in the company automatically starts thinking about how those actions will affect the customer.
By focusing on customer experience and partnering with MaritzCX, Reliant has seen the following results:
- its Net Promoter Score increase by 152 percent;
- its survey/analysis costs decrease by 65 percent; and
- the number of touchpoints surveyed increase by 220 percent.