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Energy and Utilities Market Research

The energy and utilities market is hugely diverse, spanning the petrochemical (upstream and downstream), electricity, nuclear, coal and renewable sectors.

The market

Across the market, key concerns include environmental issues, technological development, price pressure, legislation and negative public perceptions. As a result, market opportunity research, product development research and customer satisfaction research studies are frequently requested.

Our approach

Following an immersion workshop in which we - in partnership with our Client - define the precise context and objectives of the study, we adopt either a survey-based or pure consultancy approach.

When seeking to advise our clients on how to increase customer loyalty, we tailor an online or telephone survey in order to reach a wide range of customers who may be contacted on several occasions over time (see customer loyalty studies). In-depth feedback workshops with key accounts are a useful supplementary tool as we seek to make absolutely sure that we retain key customers. This type of project is frequently adopted by utilities companies and culminates in a consultancy workshop in which we develop a loyalty implementation program in tandem with our Clients.

Market opportunity research studies (for example assessing the opportunity to provide equipment into a foreign energy market) are extremely focused and largely consultative, based around interactive discussions throughout the supply chain as well as immersion workshops with our clients’ sales teams and other key stakeholders. Key outputs such as market maps and market size are best achieved through picking the brains of targeted energy experts, rather than scanning the whole market for less informed views.

In the energy industry, product development research studies are often closely linked to market opportunities studies. Testing complex technical concepts requires extremely detailed and well-informed feedback, with online or face-to-face focus groups frequently used. Whatever your requirements in terms of energy market research industry insights, B2B International focuses on identifying the opportunities for your business and the priority actions that will deliver growth.

Case study: Improving the customer experience

Business challenge

In 2012-2013 we conducted customer satisfaction and loyalty research for one of the world’s leading mains gas suppliers. Our client was growing rapidly, causing significant challenges in terms of building its customer service teams and therefore delivering the optimal customer experience.

What we did

The study explored the requirements and experiences of business energy buyers across 6 countries and through the customer journey. Our baseline study identified the specific pain points for customers in terms of customer service and problem resolution, enabling the client to modify the structure of its departments and review its recruitment procedures. The tracking study went on to measure how the business’s performance evolved following these actions, notably in terms of the key pain points. Automated detractor alerts allowed continuing problems to be relayed to our client in real time. Our work, hand-in-hand with the client, has resulted in an increased customer service culture and accelerated growth.

Case study 2: Net Promoter Score

Business challenge

Our client is an energy provider, one of the many hundreds throughout the US. In this commodity market our client was eager to raise its Net Promoter Score. This required an understanding of all the “touch points” of customers in their relationships with the company. Spotting weaknesses and correcting them was a key objective of the energy market research study.

What we did

Within the geographical areas supplied by the energy company we carried out an online survey of businesses of all kinds. Using questions that are tried and tested over a number of years and in different countries we determined levels of satisfaction with different aspects of the company’s service and prices. We also obtained overall scores on satisfaction and “likelihood to recommend”. By correlating the satisfaction scores that people provided on individual aspects of the service with the overall satisfaction and advocacy scores, we were able to establish what should be improved in order to raise overall satisfaction levels.

Our client was able to obtain a good measure of its Net Promoter Score, its overall satisfaction score and in particular the factors that drive these measures. Some of the factors were relatively easy to address such as reducing the number of estimated bills and using clear and simple language on the invoices.

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