With seven million customers getting their power from ČEZ, the company aims to remain a progressive one, with the goal to keep their customers happy enough to recommend ČEZ to friends and family. To fulfil this goal, ČEZ is making massive investments in digitalization and transformation of their culture from within.
For years, most people associated the number one power supplier in the country with stability and quality, not with excellent customer service. “It’s difficult for us to manage customer experience because most people don’t have any emotional attachment to power – for most of us, it’s such a commonplace thing that we only start paying attention to it when something is wrong,” says Pavel Cyrani, deputy chairman of the board at ČEZ. Nor is the entire power sector exactly popular with the crowd – as a supplier of key infrastructure, it must be capable of withstanding immense changes in society and technology and adapt to the pandemic, climate change, and surging power prices.
In 2019, ČEZ started putting in real, systemic effort to improve customer experience at their call centres and branch offices. The power giant’s employees were always commended for their professional knowledge, but customers also noted there was significant room for improvement in responsiveness and a human approach. To bring the customer back to the centre of attention, the company had to uproot its entire culture. “For a long time, most power engineers didn’t really think about the customers and their needs, because there wasn’t any competition for them to run off to. But market liberalization changed that, allowing customers to select their supplier and giving them dozens of options to choose from,” the deputy chairman comments to describe the approach of the past. The latest numbers confirm that the newfound pro-customer approach is bearing fruit already, with over 96% of customers now giving ČEZ employees a five-star rating.
“We want our customers to see us as a modern company, one that follows the principles of sustainability and social responsibility and acceptability; a company that is open and responsive to its customers.”Pavel Cyrani, deputy chairman of the board and director of the trade and strategy division at ČEZ, a.s.
But that’s not the end of the road for ČEZ. The company plans to fully digitalize all their customer-related processes by 2025 – an ambition that will require a complete overhaul of their entire IT infrastructure. However, the company has already managed to simplify and digitalize many things, even introducing a fully online personalized consulting service focused on energy self-sufficiency. “Using a simple form, the customer needs to provide us with basic information about their home. Our smart algorithm then uses this information to immediately send them a personalized proposal. Our customers are really coming to appreciate this system, especially now, in times of the pandemic – the number of photovoltaic systems we installed has doubled since the 2020,” says Pavel Cyrani. The entire process is fully online, so both customers and ČEZ call centre and branch employees can monitor it comfortably.
ČEZ was also able to come up with a quick solution as a supplier of last resort after Bohemia Energy and other power suppliers suddenly went out of business, quickly launching a special website to provide customers who lost their supplier with all the necessary information on how to obtain a standard contract.
Thanks to purchasing its gas and electricity in advance, ČEZ was able to protect the customers from sharp price increases. “Our customers can stay calm and count on us even now, with power prices growing rapidly. Thanks to our strategy of purchasing power in advance, we were able to procure most of it at much better prices, which means that in 2022, power prices for end consumers will not reflect the current steep price growth in full,” Cyrani comments on the company’s pricing policy. Currently, ČEZ is working hard to help customers who will be driven into energy poverty due to the sudden spike in power prices. These customers can now postpone up to three deposit payments and spread the outstanding amount in future payments, with the company still working to find more options to support their customers in these difficult times.