CenterPoint Energy is a Fortune 500 corporation operating since 1866, which provides regulated transmission and distribution of electricity in greater Houston; power generation, sales and delivery in southwest Indiana, natural gas sales and delivery in eight states, and competitive energy services in nearly 40 states. CenterPoint Energy is the critical infrastructure provider and trusted energy partner to over seven million customers.
To achieve a leading customer experience, CenterPoint Energy has adopted an “outside-in” perspective that focuses on understanding and empathizing with customer “pain points” to reduce customer effort and increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. This approach includes extensive Voice of the Customer surveys, focus groups, and partnerships such as SAP AppHaus.
When the SAP AppHaus team got involved, the first task was to align with the key stakeholders inside CenterPoint Energy and agree on the focus of the engagement. CenterPoint Energy’s Chief Customer Officer was nominated by the CEO to help drive this initiative inside the organization. The SAP AppHaus team described the human-centered engagement approach and aligned on the focus of the engagement. Since commercial and industrial (C&I) customers represent a key segment and opportunity for CenterPoint Energy, the focus of the engagement was narrowed down to the needs of the C&I customers.
The SAP AppHaus team started the engagement from the ground up by speaking with key stakeholders inside the organization, including on-the-ground service consultants, engagement managers, executive leadership and heads of all the business units. More importantly, the SAP AppHaus team met with five of CenterPoint Energy’s top C&I customers to bring their insights into crafting a future vision.
One of the key aspects of this human-centered approach is building empathy with customers and understanding their pain points before devising new ways of serving them. This proactive approach will help CenterPoint Energy take the next leap forward to make cost effective investments to deliver agile, innovative customer solutions that reduce customer effort while raising customer satisfaction.
SAP AppHaus team’s research uncovered candid insights about CenterPoint Energy’s customer journey. These insights had sweeping impact across the organization spanning internal opportunities for people, process and technology.
The SAP AppHaus team identified specific pain points around current end-to-end customer experiences that strongly influence the perception of CenterPoint Energy as well as impact business operations. These insights ranged from narrow short-term challenges affecting current customer experiences to wider long-term goals and aspirations around their future energy needs.
The engagement also uncovered opportunities for CenterPoint’s people and processes, as well as technological and mental barriers. Bringing various Lines of Business together also uncovered opportunities for collaboration within CenterPoint Energy to enable innovation and agility to increase value to end-customers. A significant opportunity is to leverage enhanced digital capabilities to get a 360° view of the customer and deliver seamless, just in time service.
These findings helped highlight and prioritize customer goals and needs in order to identify CenterPoint Energy’s ideal future C&I customer experience. These futuristic aspirations include helping customers better manage energy, protecting their business operations and discover new energy solutions.
After sharing these insights with the executive leadership, the SAP AppHaus team led a Design Thinking workshop with CenterPoint Energy’s leaders to transform these insights into actionable initiatives that would bring tangible business value to the company. The workshop proved instrumental on two fronts:
- Spreading the voice of CenterPoint Energy’s customers across all corners of the organization.
- Bringing alignment across the various business units inside the organization around a unified vision.
During the workshop, the cross-functional team selected top challenges, brainstormed strategic initiatives and prioritized the ideas with consideration of people, process and technology.
Building on a vision for the future.
Building on CenterPoint Energy’s residential Customer Vision Platform, the road to transformation of the C&I customer experience will be grounded in a digital solution to improve the experience of key customers.
Leveraging the comprehensive insights gathered through the interviews of CenterPoint Energy’s internal and external stakeholders, SAP AppHaus team helped CenterPoint Energy form a complete digital experience:
- CenterPoint Energy’s C&I Customer experience.
- CenterPoint Energy’s Internal Personnel experience.
- An Intelligent Enterprise Platform enabling the above experiences.
The future vision will improve the C&I customer experience using digital technologies, delivering a mobile experience and better opportunities for collaboration and transparency to customers throughout their end-to-end journey. The future experience also highlights a future scenario in which customers can leverage advanced insights from data to enable new business opportunities through platform services enabled by CenterPoint Energy.
The vision also highlights how the future experience of CenterPoint Energy’s internal stakeholders will be transformed to leverage real-time data and insights and predictive capabilities enabled by the platform.
And finally, it highlights how the latest capabilities from the Intelligent Enterprise Platform will facilitate the experience of CenterPoint Energy’s customers and internal personnel.
Looking forward, the team identified three long-term focus areas:
- Transformation at the core to leverage the Intelligent Enterprise Platform.
- Innovation enablement to drive change inside the organization.
- Co-innovation to address top needs in an agile manner.
SAP is poised to partner with CenterPoint Energy to become an innovation power house in the Energy sector by fostering a culture of human-centered innovation and leveraging a cutting-edge technology platform to drive rapid innovation focused on enabling an exceptional experience for their C&I customers and internal stakeholders. In addition, this cultural transformation will ensure CenterPoint Energy’s readiness for long-term modernization of core business processes and new business models.