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Let’s make metering smart again!

That’s the progress that has been made against the target for rolling out second generation smart meters (“SMETS2”) as highlighted in a damming NAO report this morning (www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/nov/23/smart-meters-rollout-labelled-a-fiasco-as-consumers-face-extra-500m-bill). The report goes on to say that as result of a series of failures in the roll-out programme the government’s 2020 completion target is “in tatters” and consumers will be faced with additional costs – added to their energy bills – of over £500m.

The technical and logistical problems of installing equipment in 30 million homes and business premises are obviously immense (even without the functionality problems many disgruntled consumers have experienced), but there’s a customer engagement challenge, too. No consumers are obliged to have smart meters installed, but the energy companies and installers are under government and regulator (Ofgem) pressure to meet targets.
User research indicates there are direct, financial benefits to the use of smart meters, especially the second generation variety, but the industry clearly hasn’t done all it can to persuade consumers of those benefits. Public awareness of smart metering is incredibly high (98% according to Smart Energy GB www.smartenergygb.org), but spontaneous consumer demand is low.
This suggests that old fashioned direct interaction and proactive contact have a vital part to play – be that face-to-face, via digital channels or voice. Whatever the customer engagement mix, contact centres will be crucial.
Energy supply and metering are esoteric areas, but customer engagement shouldn’t be.
Maybe energy suppliers and their partners should start by having a chat to my friends at the Contact Centre Panel www.contactcentrepanel.com

November’s Regulation Hub Update for the DMA’s Contact Centre Council

DMACCCouncil-Compliance RegulationHubUpdate-November2018-ilovepdf-compressed

A summary of everything that’s happening in the world of regulation and compliance for UK contact centres – enforcement, fines, guidance, consultations and rumours from the ICO, Ofcom, the PSA, central government, PCI Security Standards Council, the Fundraising Regulator, the Direct Marketing Association and more…

GDPR The Day After Tomorrow

GDPR: So, nobody died, but…

I’m writing this on 24th May 2018. The day after the new Data Protection Act received its Royal Assent and the day before the day we’ve all been waiting for, GDPR implementation day, 25th May.

Don’t 24 weeks fly by when you’re having GDPR fun?

This week I was intending to provide another bite-sized piece of advice to help you on your way to becoming GDPR compliant, especially from a customer experience perspective. However, as the nation has been floundering under a growing tsunami of last-minute ‘re-permission’ or ‘re-consent’ emails from companies, charities, arts and community organisations for the past few days, I can’t avoid looking at that phenomenon.

Read more …

Will the GDPR make me a millionaire?

The implementation date for the GDPR is only a week away. If you have been following this series of weekly ‘Just One Thing This Week’ blogs then we hope you’re fairly well prepared – or at least know what you still need to work on.

Anyway, give yourself a minor diversion and read about my Cunning Plan…

I’ve been doing some sums.

The Office for National Statistics (www.ons.gov.uk) reckons there are c.47,000 UK enterprises that employ 50 or more people. Let’s use that as a very rough proxy for the number of UK firms engaging in some sort of formal marketing and customer management/experience activities.
Read more …

Just One Thing Week 22

GDPR week #22 – It’s for life, not just 25th May

We looked at what you need to do help your frontline teams get prepared the GDPR and new Data Protection Act a few weeks ago (www.linkedin.com/pulse/week-19-gdpr-customer-experience-frontline-part-1-steve-sullivan/). So, by now you will ideally have agreed on an approach and the content you will use to inform and up-skill those teams – the public face of your organisation’s customer experience.

This may have entailed addressing issues around

  • how you acquire, process and retain personal data, or
  • how to recognise and fulfil customers’ data rights

Read more …

Just One Thing Week 21

Week #21. Going Dutch – a GDPR Sanity Check

If you have followed this series of weekly ‘GDPR and the new Data Protection Act (DPA) for Customer Experience people’ since they started then you could probably do with a break. And maybe a bit of a sanity check? We have said before that the GDPR and new DPA needn’t be cataclysmic or devastating – for most organisations at least. But maybe it’s all still needlessly complicated? So, how could we tell?

Well, in my experience if you want to get a sense of clarity about an issue, then ask someone from the Netherlands.

Although it may sometimes sound a little brutal to British ears, a Dutch man or woman will invariably give a simple, direct assessment of a situation. So, when Donna Dodsworth of our friends at the Contact Centre Panel forwarded us an article by Julien Spronck and Meryem Sabotic-Deniz of the Dutch arm of accountants BDO (looking at the food sector, but that’s not especially relevant) we were intrigued to see what they thought about the GDPR.
Read more …

Just One Thing Week 20

GDPR Week#20: Where in the world is that data?

Let me ask you a question.

As champion of your organisation’s customer experience and (for now, at least) the person responsible for ensuring you comply with the GDPR and new Data Protection Act, are you sending prospect and customers’ personal data outside of Europe solely to circumvent the laws on data protection?

No, of course not! I think.

But if any of your technology partners or services transfer, save or process personal data outside of the EU or EEA (European Economic Area), then you need to be clear about the legal basis on which you are doing this. And if you have intra-company transfers of personal data outside of the EEA and your organisation doesn’t have Binding Corporate Rules (BCRs www.ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/binding-corporate-rules/) in place – which is unlikely as BCRs are tricky and expensive to establish – the same stipulations apply.
Read more …

Just One Thing Week 19

Week #19 – GDPR & the customer experience frontline (part 1)

Whether you have just started your preparations for the GDPR and the forthcoming new Data Protection Act or you feel it’s all sorted, you need to ensure your most important stakeholders – your frontline staff – are prepared. Your customer facing teams mark where your customer experience ambitions are either realised or frustrated. Whether dealing with customers face-to-face in store or in the field, or remotely in a contact centre, they are the face of your organisation. As such they will be the first port of call for customers looking to exercise their new and enhanced rights.
Read more …

Just One Thing Week 18

Week #18 – So, you’re the GDPR expert, right?

Week #18 of your preparations for the GDPR (or the planned Data Protection Act 2018 in the UK) and its impact on your organisation’s customer experience. So, how’s it going?

My guess is that – unless your organisation has a strong Compliance function, which had already done plenty of planning for the GDPR before you got involved (some of which you may well have since disagreed with!) – you are now being treated as the company expert and ‘go-to’ person for all things data protection. As I assume you have plenty else to be getting on with in your own world of the Customer, then you probably don’t want to become the GDPR guide for everyone else.
Read more …

Just One Thing Week 17

GDPR Week #17 – What’s black & white and never read?

What’s black and white and never read? Your Privacy Statement, that’s what!

(or at least that has traditionally been the case – but things may now be changing)

As you’ll know, one of the key requirements of the GDPR and the new Data Protection Act is that organisations keep their prospects and customers (‘Data Subjects’, in legalese) informed. In fact, the first of the 8 Rights listed by the ICO is this one; the Right to be Informed.

An organisation’s Privacy Statement or Notice is typically the best way for an organisation to explain how it will process data. Traditionally, from a customer experience perspective, the Privacy Statement has been irrelevant. They’re lengthy (on average over 2,500 words – though iTunes’ peaked at 20,000 words in 2015) and no-one reads them. But in future people increasingly will. And if it’s not your prospects and customers reviewing your Privacy Statement, then rivals and and a growing band of people looking to make a living out of challenging brands’ data privacy compliance will!
Read more …

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