Mobile Energy Innovation
'Delta Energy', a subsidiary of a large UK energy generator and supplier, came with a challenge to create an offering to enter and disrupt the residential and commercial sustainable energy provider market — a market notoriously cautious about switching.
The aspiration was clear — a new model for the UK sustainable energy market. But what that meant and what shape that offering would take was still to be explored.
— UX Lead, Creative
As the principle Experience and Creative in the team, I worked with other members of the team to devise, develop and define the various principles of the offering, from exploring possible business models and market positions, through to functionality of digital deliverables.
Once the approach was agreed, I developed a UX/UI proposal, resulting in an extensive interactive prototype simulating a broad range of service offerings.
Reducing friction was going to be critical. We proposed a mobile app based on an enhanced conversational/chatbot UI. The app will be connected directly to live account information and smart technical support, as well as dynamic account and location-aware recommendations (through 3rd-party APIs).
This combination will produce a compelling app that makes switching easy, and also supports powerful, meaningful interactions – by serving as the primary platform for direct P2P/C2C sales and 'gifting' mechanisms.
Development of the full B2C offering, including the app, is scheduled as part of ongoing work and market rollout.
Bringing a New Energy to the Market
The sustainable energy market attracts a more forward-thinking and demanding customer. We wanted to make customers more central to the offering, empowering them to think even more pro-actively about their energy usage.
Customers can be net energy generators, but selling surplus back to the grid is an uncompetitive option. Delta would offer preferential buy-back rates.
But, what if Delta users could sell it to other Delta users? Now, that’s a really compelling idea!
And so, a strategic offering was put together to help the client become a new breed of UK energy supplier — one built around a P2P/C2C model where customers become partners.
Enhanced Conversational UI
A simple conversational UI allows Delta to engage in a simple manner. The app would be primarily procedurally driven / scripted, but would allow for seamless switching to a live agent.
3rd-party APIs would be utilised to simplify the sign-up and switching process, reducing it to under a minute.
The chatbot would be connected to the customer's account and technical information – including the status of their home electricity supply via a smartbox in the home.
This would allow sales and technical support requests to feel like live chat, accessing real-time information to help diagnose and resolve service interruptions, as well as to help recommend relevant services and upgrades.
Sharing & Donating
A residential renewable energy supply allows for potential surplus energy generation. Delta will offer a range of options for how to utilise the surplus (automatically converted into account credit). Customers in these situations effectively become partners, enabling them to offset the credit against future bills.
Where the Delta offering really stands out is through sharing and donating mechanisms.
Partners will be able to gift any amount of accrued credit to other Delta customers quickly and easily, directly from within the app.
If Delta partners have registered a preferred charity with their account, they can donate credit to that charity or to other Delta users who are classified as living under fuel poverty.
Smart Devices & Smart Recommendations
Part of the offering made use of smart home sensor devices that track electricity usage and environmental conditions, such as room temperatures.
By tracking electricity usage against room conditions — e.g. how quickly a room temperature drops after heating is turned off, or how often lights are left on in empty rooms — the service is able to identify wastage. This would allow for opt-in recommendations on services aimed at improving a home's energy efficiency, such as a localised listing of top-rated loft insulation services.
Conversely, good energy usage patterns suggest the customer cares about energy efficiency. This would allow for opt-in recommendations of items aimed at improving energy efficiency, such as smart bulbs.