Energy consultancy remains switched on to legislative changes with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

A UK energy consultancy Effective Energy is keeping ahead of rapid changes in energy legislation and diversifying its range of services after implementing a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution from K3 CRM.

The challenge

Effective Energy Solutions Ltd was established in 2008 and provides services to both the domestic and business markets, helping customers reduce energy costs and supporting the big six energy suppliers to meet their legal obligations.

The company is providing these services against a backdrop of frequent changes in UK energy legislation, and required a flexible and scalable solution to help it manage such changes and better respond to an influx of new work. The success of the solution implemented has resulted in 95% of services now being managed through Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, a tool that is contributing significantly to the growth of the business.

Graham Roddan, Product Development Manager at Effective Energy explains the decision to implement a CRM solution: ”Although the business was only established in 2008, as a result of rapid and ongoing legislative changes taking place within the energy sector, the nature and scope of the products and services we offer has grown and changed significantly over a short period of time.

As a result, it became clear we needed a solution that would help us keep up to date with any developments within the sector and provide us with the capacity to empower our team to successfully manage our existing client base and the anticipated upturn in demand for our services as a result.”

Graham Roddan, Manager, Effective Energy

”CRM has provided a flexible and scalable solution that enables us to manage this seamlessly on one platform”

Centralising data to make it easier to respond to legislative changes

The energy industry has undergone rapid changes over recent years, impacting both the consumer and business markets. This has been driven by a number of legislative changes, among them the Climate Change Act, which has stipulated that if the UK is to cut greenhouse emissions by 80% by 2050, energy efficiencies need to increase across both the private and public sectors. Effective Energy was established to advise and support its customers in the implementation of energy-saving initiatives to ensure these targets remain achievable.

The solution

Prior to the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the business had to create manual processes off system to manage information regarding funding opportunities for green energy incentives, Carbon Points and the best energy procurement rates for businesses. With a modest team of 40 people and the business growing and diversifying all the time, Effective Energy realised that it needed to invest in a flexible, central CRM system to pull in all of this information in order to make it available to the wider team and easy to manage the huge variety of services being offered.

Graham Roddan, Manager, Effective Energy

”The strong reporting features of CRM have given us much greater visibility regarding business accounts and market trends, meaning our staff now have access to unified data instantly, leading to improved insights regarding products. As our client base has grown, so too has the range of services we have been able to offer. CRM has provided a flexible and scalable solution that enables us to manage this seamlessly on one platform.”

Effective Energy now has a comprehensive and unified solution that provides it with a centralised database, making it quick and easy to make updates on the system as they happen.

Graham Roddan explains: ”Carbon credit compliance changes all the time and previously we found we always had to update a deluge of manual files in order to bring our information up to date. This would take a lot of time and cause inaccuracies. With Dynamics CRM, we can quickly add a new field for a new requirement to ensure that people in the system only see what they need to see, in simple terms. This element of control over information visibility and the ease with which we can update information is resulting in huge efficiencies across the business.”

Improving visibility of data to provide a more responsive service

The implementation of a CRM solution has provided the company with complete visibility of all information passing through the business, allowing staff to automate and streamline processes with ease.

For example, upon receiving a new request from a customer, Effective Energy would have to manually update a number of documents in order to track the progress of the order and create multiple files to store the customer’s requirements. Today, with Dynamics CRM, this process is significantly improved, as all the information is held in one system and available to extract immediately. At any time, a report can be produced showing exactly where an order is in the system and which tasks are outstanding to complete the order. Customer requirements for multiple distinct services can be stored in one place, and a customer-focused view provided to the front- line staff. A more financially focused overview can also be provided to the Management team looking at the same data in real time.

”Improving the customer experience was a fundamental motivation behind looking to implement a CRM system. We required a solution that would react quickly to new products and services available as a result of legislative changes. By ensuring we could introduce new services quickly, customers would always be getting the best deal, and Effective Energy could be confident that we could deliver these services without any problems as the visibility of the information is all in one place to manage, confirms Graham Roddan.

Using CRM to diversify services and cross sell, enhancing the customer experience.

By strengthening the customer service relationships within Effective Energy, the business has been able to better understand the needs and requirements of individual clients. This has enabled the customer service team to gather information on further services and support that customers require; information that has been used to develop a strategy for service diversification. As a result of this customer feedback, Effective Energy has increased its services from retrofitting to energy procurement, commercial lighting and solar. Efficient lighting systems are an important consideration for businesses looking to reduce energy consumption, with a typical saving of 40% for businesses switching from traditional lighting systems to LED alternatives.

”The strong reporting features of CRM have given us much greater visibility regarding business accounts and market trends, meaning our staff now have access to unified data instantly, leading to improved insights regarding products. As our client base has grown, so too has the range of services we have been able to offer.”

”A positive of investing in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online has been that we have not had to create an in-house IT resource to manage our application. Instead, our system is hosted externally with experts, and we always receive the latest updates from Microsoft to ensure that we are always on the most up-to- date version of the technology. We can scale CRM up and down with the business and this flexibility has enabled our team to continue to offer the best customer service at all times,” Graham Roddan adds.

A cost-effective solution that has the flexibility and scalability to grow with the business.

Effective Energy implemented Microsoft Dynamics CRM in 2013 and immediately saw the benefits it provided to its customer service team as well as the potential to develop and customise the solution for the future as necessary. The implementation of Microsoft Dynamics CRM was the first time Effective Energy had embarked on such a project. To aid user adoption, K3 CRM initially provided the company with a test version to enable its team to gain insights to the solution and start to understand how it would improve internal efficiencies. Pre implementation, K3 CRM spent time with the company to help develop the core system and provide advice and support.

Graham Roddan comments: ”The support of K3 CRM has been invaluable. Using a CRM solution was a completely new prospect for the team and so in many aspects it was a steep learning curve. K3 CRM dedicated time to not only understanding our business needs, but also to supporting us through our implementation journey.”

The simplicity and ease of use of the solution resulted in significant uptake in adoption, with 95% of staff now using the platform to streamline everyday processes. The business is continuing to work closely with K3 CRM to develop the solution in line with industry changes. Graham Roddan adds: ”It was important for us that we invested in a solution that is flexible and can support the wide changes that are being made in our industry all the time. We didn’t want to pay a developer to create a rigid system and have to keep paying them additional funds to continue customising it as legislation changed. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we have a flexible and scalable system that has the integration capabilities of any Microsoft product, making it an important part of our business today.”