"We're not the biggest player on the market, but personal contact sets us apart from our competitors."
The energy sector has seen drastic changes in the recent years, forcing companies to rethink their business strategies. Convenient contact channels have since become a differentiator in this highly competitive market. e-regio realized that potential and added Userlike to their customer communication setup in 2016.
e-regio looks back on a 70-year long history, providing several kinds of energy services in a rural area near Cologne, Germany. They've always had a customer-centric philosophy, visible in their welcoming service center for their customers to visit in person or call. But thinking about the future, e-regio decided in 2016 that this setup wasn't enough anymore.
Their online business had become increasingly important through the e-regio and LogoEnergie websites. They wanted a customer communication channel that fit this trend.
Christian Minks, Customer Service Manager at e-regio, explains: "We wanted a live chat software that was easy to handle – both for our users and our service team. We also wanted to be able to tailor the setup exactly to our needs without any help. Userlike had all that. Plus their support team was amazing, we could always reach out to them and they'd get back with answers in no time."
Once they'd tested Userlike and were certain about their decision, they could move on to the implementation without the involvement of any developers.
With chat, customers typically expect an answer within 30 seconds. So Mink's team was initially a bit worried whether they were up to the challenge.
"Our team was definitely excited for the new software and they love working with it now. But they did express some doubts at the start. Whether they'd be able to satisfy the demands that come with chat, for example. Whether they could answer fast enough, without mixing up chats and typing a reply into the wrong chat."
But those fears quickly faded. After addressing their concerns to Userlike's support team, e-regio reduced the amount of chat slots from 10 to 3 and enabled audio notifications to notify Operators of all incoming chats.
e-regio tried different setup options for their chat modes and wording. They also make use of the feedback function, so their web visitors can rate the chat after the service. The feedback they get is overwhelmingly positive.
People often tell us that they love the chat and think it's modern – something they wouldn't have expected from a municipal utility company. I think that's a big differentiator on the market, especially for a smaller player like us.
As envisioned, e-regio has maintained a low barrier for starting a chat. They are using the proactive chat mode, which automatically welcomes the visitor after she's spent 20 seconds on the website. No registration is necessary either. "If it turns out we do need customer information, like the phone number, we simply ask them in the chat," Minks adds.
Having started with the supply of gas and water, e-regio has grown into a regional energy provider for electricity, gas, heat flow, smart home, and e-mobility.