Vattenfall Takes its Customer Service Online

February 10, 2011 by Thorsten Pape, Janko Cukelj, and Daniel Hardt

SAP CRM 7.0 takes Vattenfall’s customer service online (photo: fotolia)

SAP CRM 7.0 takes Vattenfall’s customer service online (photo: fotolia)

At first glance, little has changed for Vattenfall Europe’s three million customers in Germany. However, the company’s upgrade to SAP CRM 7.0 puts its customer service on a whole new footing. The pressure has been taken off Vattenfall’s employees, while customer queries can be processed faster and enhanced functions have become available on the Internet.

Now, for example, if customers move house, they can register their new address online. Furthermore, SAP CRM 7.0 offers extensive new marketing functions, such as campaign planning, execution, and analysis.

Together with Hamburg, Germany-based Steria Mummert Consulting, the user departments affected developed a new standard for the processes throughout the area of customer service. All the processes were mapped and verified in the SAP for Utilities solution portfolio and in SAP Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM), before they were connected to third-party systems such as the online portal and the archiving system.

Then came integration testing to monitor functionality, the migration of the current SAP for Utilities data to the target system landscape, training, and preparation for the go-live. So far, performance measurements and system comparisons confirmed that the transition was a success.

The project also meant that sales and distribution activities for private and business customers were harmonized at Vattenfall’s previously separate sites in Berlin and Hamburg. Since October 2010, more than 500 employees have been working with the new solution in the service centers.

Keeping up with compliance

Vattenfall chose to upgrade to the new customer relationship management system in October for a good reason. From that point onward, SAP no longer continued maintaining the company’s previous customer contact management component CIC (Customer Interaction Center). Vattenfall would have had to assume this task and be solely responsible for mapping processes in line with legal requirements, if it had retained the old system.

Vattenfall was reluctant to take on the additional maintenance work and become responsible for uncertainty about the legal situation, especially as unbundling – in other words, the financial and organizational separation of services in the energy industry – already meant that the company was forced to take action.

Next page: Mobile customer service and streamlining of processes

A glimpse of the SAP CRM 7.0 screen

A glimpse of the SAP CRM 7.0 screen

Streamlined processes

SAP CRM 7.0 requires little customizing for companies in the utilities industry, and the specifics of the project also meant that processes at Vattenfall could be streamlined further. For example, when a quotation for supplying power is created, the system automatically suggests the relevant meters and the grid operator is determined for the area in which the house in question is located.

Other typical utilities processes – such as change of supplier or meter disconnection – are integrated. In the case of new customers, the grid operator is notified at the same time as the customer changes their power supplier, without the employee having to do anything.

The system also maps the accesses to customer and claims management, invoice correction, and meter reading management. Thanks to telephone integration, service center operations are optimally supported. Data for sales controlling is provided from all the processes.

Mobile customer service

With the project, Vattenfall also aimed to map service processes more comprehensively and integrate other contact channels better. After all, these other channels are being used more and more. For instance, customers may want to get an overview of their power consumption by glancing at their smartphone.

Forecasters predict that within between five and eight years, electricity bills by snail mail will be a thing of the past. Instead all billing processes will be electronic. By transitioning to SAP CRM 7.0, Vattenfall already took a sure step in that direction.

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