Learning Experiences

Don’t let the energy crisis put a squeeze on your people’s performance

We are in for a turbulent year, in more ways than one! One close to home challenge we are all likely to face is rising energy bills. Your frontline teams in the energy sector (if they are not already) are set to deal with a multitude of challenges from customers who are worried about the rising costs – taking their frustration and anger out on your teams.

These customers will feel a lack of control and powerless to do anything about energy bills going up substantially. The number of people experiencing financial vulnerabilities will rise, often being unaware of how to cope with less disposable income.

What will it take for your people to stand up to the energy crisis?

It’s important to remember that the crisis will not only affect customers, but also your teams. Skills such as resilience, mindset, communication skills, questioning skills – and perhaps most importantly, empathy are all going to be essential focus areas. Are your people able to manage these difficult conversations confidently whilst maintaining the level of service you expect?

How can you operationalise development and protect the customer experience?

Whilst you deal with a variety of challenges from your customers, it’s fair to say, that in hardship, a customer’s expectation on the experience increases. One key factor customers look for in these circumstances, is ‘ownership’. They don’t want to be passed around multiple departments; they don’t want to have to explain their personal situation several times. It’s important that your people are able to take ownership of the customer relationship and see the challenge through to a successful conclusion – all whilst protecting the customer experience. Are they fully equipped with the knowledge of options that are available to help their customers to make decisions?

Protecting the mental wellbeing of your people

Many organisations are well versed in mental health/wellbeing. But as we head into what will be a difficult time for many people, line managers will need to check in more regularly with their teams. Coaching and feedback must be a priority. More ‘offline’ chats to see how people are doing. A judgemental person lacks curiosity – so it’s important for line managers to ask questions, explore if support is needed and signpost to the relevant areas. This stressful time may impact your people personally as well as professionally. Having open and transparent lines of communication will create a safe space within their work environment.

What are some important developmental considerations to take into account?

Sometimes, it can be useful to go right back to basics. Understanding the fundamentals of customer experience. Which is building trust with your employees and customers. Communicating with impact, can your people manage difficult conversations and control the discussion to reach a comfortable outcome for both your business and the customer? Demonstrating true empathy, and really being able to connect with people. Treating people with respect and taking ownership, making sure the questions raised are answered. These are essential areas of focus when thinking about customer experience. Assess knowledge, skills and behaviours today, to protect the outcomes for customers tomorrow.

The energy companies who come successfully out of the crisis will be those who build resilience in their workforce and encourage teams to take ownership, have regular check-ins and invest in people’s development.

To discuss further, please get in touch with me below or the client solutions team at learningexperiences@davies-group.com.

Lee Russell
Client Solutions Director
E. lee.russell@davies-group.com

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