By Dan Bates, Founder and CEO of Rebel Energy
When I started to build my vision for Rebel Energy, I knew I wanted to build a digital-first company. I had spent a lot of time looking at how the existing players in the market were structured, and how they’d built their business. I knew that many of the ‘old guard’ were struggling to get their businesses set up for the new digital future — having outdated and complicated back-end systems that didn’t interact well with new technology was literally killing them! It also created horrible customer experiences and increased costs to the business. Looking at newer energy suppliers, they often didn’t get the right balance between the digital and the customer experience quite right and had to backtrack a little, causing issues when they’ve had to re-jig systems and re-plan their resourcing.
Getting the balance right is the key. At the heart of Rebel Energy is our ability to keep costs low, but without skimping on the service we deliver. We’re spending a great deal of time and effort mapping out industry processes and working out how we can automate those data flows that might be critical, but are also pretty boring and, if done right, don’t need human interaction.
Our first target is to try and automate the customer on-boarding process. This currently is an area that causes many frustrations for consumers — if data flows don’t perfectly align, or the right data is not captured in the right way — then taking on a customer can be far more difficult that it should.
Automation is not just about keeping costs low and mistakes down. Reducing the amount of data entry or processing that our people must do means that they have more time to build genuine relationships with our customers. For Rebel, customer service is not just about answering the telephone, or an email, but it’s about taking a proactive approach to customer service and turning what could often be a negative experience — contacting your energy supplier — into a positive one. And for that we need highly skilled, highly engaging people, who are keen to learn new skills, and to be a part of a company that is genuinely doing something different. Being able to offer potential recruits a much more involved and interesting role in customer support is a real positive.
The next few months for us will be key. But we’re taking the time to make sure that everything we build is robust, and fully compliant with the myriad of license conditions that Ofgem rightly specifies. It is very easy to get things wrong as many who have gone before us have found, and ‘getting it right’ is a key tenet of the ‘Rebel way’. We’re excited to have Blue Prism on our side as we build the energy supplier of the future.