UK’s newest entrant into the competitive energy market deploys automated technology to save time and money and enhance the overall customer experience

Green Star Energy, one of the newest entrants into the UK’s competitive residential energy market, has deployed interactive voice response (IVR) and automated payment technology from Encoded to offer customers a 24-hour meter reading and self-service payment service. Since implementing Encoded, Green Star Energy has realised significant time and cost savings with nearly 20% of customers using IVR to enter their meter readings or make payments, equating to around 16,000 calls every month.

Launched in 2013, Green Star Energy supplies electricity, gas and renewable energy to homes throughout the UK and, being independent, is continually watching the market to keep prices competitive. The company was looking for a sophisticated technology solution to support the go-live of this small but highly ambitious venture.

Joanne Thornton, Managing Director of Green Star Energy commented, ‘We are a small supplier with big plans. Our mission is clear – great service, easy to understand products and savings on our customers’ bills. Pivotal to supporting our strategy is a friendly, knowledgeable customer service team backed up with clever technology that can accommodate our fast growing dynamic business. Encoded’s automated IVR card payment solution supported our business from day one, selected for ease of use, speedy implementation and cost-efficiency.’

Operating from headquarters in Milton Keyes, and Cork, Ireland, Green Star Energy’s 60-strong customer service team is open for business from 8am until 6pm, Monday to Friday. Typically agents handle more than 1,000 inbound calls per day covering anything from meter reads and meter read requests, to enquiries about payment options and customer account administration such as changing payment details.

In addition, a further 13,000 and 3,000 calls relating to meter readings and payments respectively are handled by the Encoded solution, allowing customers to carry out debit or credit card transactions themselves, quickly and at any time. This leaves agents free to deal with more complex or urgent enquiries.

Most importantly, the fully automated solution dramatically enhances security by eradicating the need for agents to record confidential information manually on pieces of paper. Encoded is a Level 1 Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) accredited supplier which means customers can be assured that their private data is protected at all times.

Currently around 20% of Green Star Energy’s customers use IVR to make their payments. The automation provided by Encoded has realised tangible cost savings by enabling Green Star Energy to extend its business operations without the need to increase customer service headcount. To deal with the calls currently handled by IVR Green Star Energy estimates it would need to increase the existing number of agents by a similar 20%.

Despite the rise in self-service and automated payments, Green Star Energy appreciates that some customers still want to speak to a live agent and respects their choice by constantly looking for secure ways to facilitate payments taken over the telephone. Encoded’s strong integration capabilities link it seamlessly to Green Star Energy’s CRM system, meaning agents always have the right information at their fingertips to deliver a quick, highly personalised and vastly superior customer experience.

Robert Crutchington, Director of Encoded concluded, ‘Fast-growing, dynamic new companies like Green Star Energy rely on our flexible technology to guarantee they are up and running from day one. Our automated IVR payment solution enables organisations to create a highly efficient and secure card payment environment that empowers customers, boosts their confidence and generates a healthy business outlook. We look forward to supporting Green Star Energy during the next exciting period of their business journey.’