Under the influence of regulators and consumer bodies, service providers in the energy, water and postal sectors have been moving away from a predominant focus on engineering or operations towards being more service orientated, innovative and customer-focused.
That transition has gone hand in hand with a movement away from prescriptive rules-based regulation towards lighter touch regulation. The Treating Customers Fairly initiative in the energy industry is a good example of this.
Outcome based solutions
The more customer-orientated culture encourages innovation and gives service providers greater autonomy to develop their own consumer-focused frameworks by engaging with their customers to determine what their needs are and how services should be developed to better meet those needs. Light touch regulation might ultimately lead to the adoption of principles that focus on customers to support stronger consumer outcomes.
Utilities are increasingly adopting a culture based on understanding customers’ needs, providing services to better meet those needs and putting consumers at the centre of operations.
Market research is a key tool allowing utilities to better understand their customers’ needs, the dynamics of the markets they operate within and evaluate their own performance.