Together Energy is the latest in a series of energy companies to cease trading as a result of the 250% surge in wholesale gas prices. Ofgem have appointed British Gas to take on the 176,000 customers affected by its collapse.
And, with the energy price cap predicted to rise 51% in April, the disruption is set to continue for some time yet. It’s likely that we’ll see more smaller players falling victim to the sharp price increase, resulting in their collapse, and customers being transferred to another firm.
But are the UK’s energy giants truly equipped to take on these additional customers, ready to hit the ground running? The management and integration of different datasets is one crucial area of a merger or acquisition that largely goes unnoticed.
With hordes of new customers to win over and big brand reputations to uphold, it’s one that’s also crucial to the smooth running of the process and their success.
So, what data challenges do companies undergoing M&As need to prepare for?
Moving Customer Data To The Parent CRM
Data migration is one of the first challenges these Energy Giants will have to face. The data platform of the acquiree, whether that be a CRM or data warehouse, is likely to be very different to that of the acquirer, which can make the transfer of data to the new company difficult.
It is very common for an error to occur during this stage, with poor project scoping or setting unrealistic expectations being just two of the regular mistakes we see being made. Data migration can be a complex process but outsourcing the task to an experienced specialist or being guided by industry methodology greatly increases your chances of success.
Pulling Data Together From Different Sources
In the process of any acquisition, you’re bound to find different data sources which need to be brought together. For example, it could be that the acquiring company needs to pull new data into their established reporting system. Another complexity for the energy giants to handle.
This usually requires an experienced developer and the help of specialist tools, like Talend. However, once complete, a data integration gives you access to the right data, in the right place which can simplify reporting and internal processes.
Dealing With The Duplicates
When acquiring another company’s data, you are likely to find crossover between your prospects and their customers, and vica versa. In the context of energy firms, it may be that a customer that has historically contacted, or been a customer of, both companies, and has been stored separately on the different databases.
To ensure the same customer isn’t being contacted twice or receiving conflicting messages, deduplication and data quality checks are crucial. Investing in the right tools will allow you to build data quality rules (DQRs), which can then be applied automatically.
This allows for clear communication while avoiding common mishaps. One such mishap could be emailing an existing customers with a ‘new customer’ deal they are actually not entitled to. Not only can better data quality improve productivity, capability and decision making, it’s also an important part of gaining customer trust, which is essential at the beginning of a new relationship and existing.
Once the data is accurate and in the right places, you will need to orchestrate your marketing campaigns flawlessly. When acquiring hundreds of thousands of new customers, there are hundreds of opportunities for error. They will need to make sure that they’re offering the right tariffs, content, and special offers to the right customers. Which is crucial to driving engagement and geting the relationship off to the right start.
To do this effectively, you need to understand exactly who you’re targeting and what you need to say. This will help you create relevant and engaging communications to keep customers engaged and foster a long-term relationship.
It’s fair to say that the energy giants have had their hands full over the past 12 months. Since January 2021 27 energy providers have gone bust. These last-energy-firms-standing must get a handle on all this new data to avoid their own demise. They need to make sure they use their inherited data carefully to welcome these new customers and gain their trust. Of course, this is all on top of working to retain their own customers, staff and smooth running of operations.
For support and guidance in navigating the data challenges that come with mergers and acquisitions, get in touch.
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