As the fastest growing water retailer in the recently deregulated English market, Everflow faced serious challenges. How do you juggle a high level of customer service, maintaining a reliable customer record, and billing everyone accurately and efficiently, all whilst on-boarding hundreds of new customers each week? Everflow saw the solution as a digital transformation challenge, requiring a bespoke unified system for quoting, contract management, and billing.
Against this backdrop of explosive growth, Everflow approached Waterstons in 2017 to help them progress their digital vision. They were looking for help improving some of their business processes in order to provide a better, more efficient service than they could with software currently on the market.
The first of these processes was generating quotations for prospective clients. Everflow win a large proportion of their business through brokers, who review pricing from multiple providers to identify the best retailer for their customers’ needs. Everflow’s process for generating a quote was complex and did not give visibility of the status and number of quotes being generated. Data needed to be downloaded and Excel spreadsheets populated, putting greater complexity in the process than desired. When, sometimes, a quote could not be created while the customer was on the phone, business could be lost. With information about generated quotes, rates and turnaround times not being available, forward planning was also made difficult.
“Our partnership with Waterstons gives us access to all the skills and support we need to rapidly develop, deploy and benefit from software that gives us a real competitive advantage”
Waterstons’ first task was creating the ‘Broker Portal’, where brokers could create quotes for prospective customers, then deal with contract acceptance and submission to Everflow. The new system allowed quotes to be created instantly, giving an immediate overview and pricing breakdown. By providing basic information such as an address, brokers would then be provided all the additional details they needed to help sell the contract. These included savings over other providers, estimated total annual cost for services, and detailed pricing information for each property.
The ‘Broker Portal’ enabled greater feedback on the quoting process, giving Everflow visibility of quotes being created, turnaround times and rates. It also gave insight into why some quotes were not turned into contracts, driving subsequent contact to turn them into sales. The digital platform thus facilitated further growth and helped to maintain Everflow’s position as the fastest growing water retailer in the English market.
After the success of the ‘Broker Portal’ the next phase of the digital roadmap, expanding the system into other areas, was planned. This phase concerned contract management, billing, and white-labelling. It allowed Everflow to generate a large volume of data and bring processes for running their business in-house, simultaneously improving the customer journey and supporting a brand-new
revenue stream from selling the system to other retailers. Since the first release of the broker portal, through 2018-19 the system has evolved to become ‘Eclipse’. It helps Everflow manage all areas of their business, from quoting, through on-boarding, and on to customer billing. Everflow have end-to-end visibility of their data at all stages of key business processes, and full control over how they bill customers, enabling them to enhance their services and offerings. With Eclipse, more processes have been automated, including automatically billing customers for trade effluent services, estimating ‘transfer reads’ when on-boarding customers, and commission payments to brokers. Increased automation has freed time that staff members previously spent on manual processes, allowing even more effort to be put in to customer service and managing new business opportunities.
Plans for Eclipse are still being made; as the system evolves, more ideas and opportunities for potential features are identified, from improvements in customer experience to increasing efficiency and providing brand new offerings to customers.
“Our software is allowing us to successfully scale up and succeed in a competitive market, while providing the real-time insights we need to deliver exceptional customer service”
The process for developing a system like this will continue as long as the business thrives. Each new element of functionality can create potential for a new line of business, or a more efficient process allowing staff to focus on other things. As long as a business is forward-thinking and passionate, creating bespoke systems can lead to previously unexpected success.
Waterstons’ approach and understanding of our business opportunities makes our partnership really valuable in developing solutions that fit our needs and deliver real business impact.Patrick Randall Senior Project Manager