Developed as part of a four piece SaaS platform solution , the Telephone Agent Portal (TAP) processes energy quotes more efficiently – built in conjunction with Format14 CRM who developed the Sugar CRM component and Event Broker middleware.
The TAP is an OFGEM compliant switching tool that allows Bristol Energy’s Sales & Renewals team to switch new energy supply customers to their services over the phone – or via a tablet in public spaces like shopping centres.
Utilising our previous utility industry experience, and expanding the scope of our similar systems, we built Bristol Energy a comprehensive agent portal that streamlined their energy quote process and enhanced their ability to deliver exceptional customer service.
Bringing the project to life
Sketching and wireframes
Custom Drupal build
Although the UI of the TAP may appear simple, there are a number of essential functionalities going on in the background. Bristol Energy needed multiple components to integrate and communicate effectively, including postcode lookup, meter detection, bank account verification, SugarCRM integration, and Junifer system integration. The system also included inbound and outbound calls along with lead generation for Sales & Renewals.
These moving parts presented a number of technological challenges, and connecting them required a lot of testing. We had to make several adjustments to find the optimal solution.
The power sector presents many challenges around customer details and data updates. An energy switch takes around 17 days to go through, and objections like debt or unemployment can also stop the switch from proceeding. We needed to build an intuitive TAP that could adapt to each use case and quickly update the system based on the most recent information, including:
- Meter detection to prevent problems downstream
- Bank verification to stop incorrect billing details
- Improving efficiency to avoid passing data back-and-forth in the CSV to send data directly to the systems
Technical solutions and integration
Flexible CMS system
Integrated postcode and energy look-up
We integrated an address lookup tool using an API from Energylinx. Our clever coding allows the agent to quickly find the customer’s postcode, select address, identify meter type and produce a projected energy quote. Should the customer wish to proceed, the agent can quickly gather name, banking details and create the Direct Debit guarantee.
Energylinx sends the meter type and quote back to the TAP, allowing the agents to pass this information back to the customer. This data is then passed as a ‘lead’ to SugarCRM which our technology partner (Format14) developed. We save the use case as a ‘lead’, so if the customer has to call back to continue the process, the agent can easily find the details again via a quick postcode search.
Once the energy switch is completed, we convert the CRM ‘lead’ to a ‘site’.
In the final stage, the TAP sends the user site to the CRM, and a standard customer information and billing system (CIS) called Junifer processes and organises the consumer data. Bristol Energy uses Junifer’s full capacity, including customer care, accounts receivable, credit control and billing.
Event Broker middleware
Format14 developed middleware called Event Broker that integrates with the Junifer CRM to poll information on any consumer status updates. The software uses the data to update the user record in the CRM.
Benefits of the Telephone Agent Portal
The system significantly improves productivity, saving each team member one day per week on average. As a result, Bristol Energy can process more cases for a fraction of the time. Our system can produce a quote, gather the user’s details, sign them up to a tariff from Bristol Energy and pass their details into the CRM and Junifer billing mechanism in a matter of minutes.
We designed our easy-to-use UI to remove as many barriers as possible to create an enjoyable user experience. Thanks to our intuitive design, the TAP can store leads easily and quickly update quotes as necessary. Operating this software is like using a good app: the process is so seamless you don’t realise you’re using it.
The system uses postcode and address for locating customer details so agents can find the correct quote even without the customer’s name. Most systems require agents to enter a consumer name in order to move on, but ours doesn’t. Our postcode-based system prevents a lead from getting lost under a name that’s misspelt or made-up, significantly improving accuracy.
Ongoing support for long-term success
Since 2019, Basestation has continued to work with Bristol Energy, offering ongoing support to keep their TAP system running at optimal capacity. Whether they need bug fixes, security updates, or to add/remove features, our team of experts is there to help long after the launch.