Customer first energy supplier quickly adapts to Covid pandemic thanks to cloud-based communications
Since deploying Contact Center, the customer experience is far better. The quality of the messaging and IVR now matches the quality of the New Relic services we sell.
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Valda Energy is a British-owned B2B energy supplier, licensed to sell electricity and gas to the SME market. This innovative startup was founded in 2019 by a senior management team with over 20 years’ industry experience. The company uses smart meter technology, customer focused solutions and 100% renewable power to offer small to midsized businesses customised energy solutions at competitive prices.
Within just a few months of its 2019 launch, Valda Energy, with its customer first ideology, was already garnering attention from the energy-industry media, signing up small to midsized businesses across many sectors, and growing its team.
But less than six months after launching, the Oxfordshire-based supplier found the Covid-19 pandemic threatening to disrupt its entire operation. Fortunately, the company was able to continue providing the energy lifeline many of its customers needed during the crisis, thanks to its choice of communications infrastructure.
By using cloud-based technology, Valda Energy were able to offer customers uninterrupted access to contact centres and maintain all regular communications channels, regardless of whether staff were working remotely or in the office. With the foresight of deploying a cloud communication system, the company had both flexibility for employees and ability to maintain its customer first focus.
Launching a new product during a pandemic is not a strategy found in many business manuals. But in 2020, Valda Energy spotted a gap in the market and decided to launch a new product, SmartChoice, secure in the knowledge that their cloud-based tech solutions would support their aspirations.
The financial fallout of Covid-19 resulted in traditional energy suppliers exercising caution regarding which businesses they are willing to accept as customers. Valda Energy addressed this issue with SmartChoice – a solution which enables customers to purchase energy in advance and only pay for what is used.
SmartChoice, is a real industry first, putting payment control firmly in the hands of business users. Giving small and midsized companies access to competitive prices, the latest smart meter technology, cloud-based customer service and flexible payment options.
The foresight to deploy a cloud communications solution
Daljeet Kaur, Valda Energy’s Operations Director, oversaw the selection and deployment of the company’s phone system. And although the decision to go with a cloud-based solution represented foresight, Daljeet admits she and her team were thinking ahead to other scenarios—certainly not a worldwide pandemic and quarantines.
“We wanted the ability to offer remote working arrangements because that would let us tap into a larger pool of talent across the country as we grew,” she explains. Daljeet and her team were also thinking about business continuity. “We’re providing a critical service to businesses, and if we suffered an outage or other disaster at head office, we’d need a way to stay accessible to customers from other locations. Cloud communications would play a key role in that.”
But as it turned out, implementing RingCentral Contact Centre solution for its inbound and outbound teams, as well as RingCentral’s unified communications platform for all staff, also prepared Valda Energy for the Covid-19 lockdowns. “That implementation worked out perfectly. It made for a smooth transition to home-based working for all of us as soon as the lockdowns started—and we did it without impacting customer service.”
Having RingCentral allowed us to quickly and effectively move our business to remote working.
Selecting the right cloud phone and contact centre solution
As for why her telecom-industry research led her to RingCentral, Daljeet lists several factors that made the decision obvious. “First and foremost, we wanted a single solution for all of the communication channels we offer our customers, including voice, chat, web forms, and SMS. I didn’t want to have to bolt on different systems that didn’t integrate effectively and try to make them all work together.”
Daljeet’s research also revealed RingCentral offered Valda Energy adaptability in growing its communications platform over time. “RingCentral has an open API environment and many third-party integrations which would allow us to easily add apps and services as we expanded our operations.”
Finally, as a startup fostering a culture of innovation, Valda Energy faces unique challenges. “We experiment regularly with our operations, from how to arrange call queues to the greetings we record,” says Daljeet. “We needed a solution that made it easy for us to make these updates ourselves, rather than raising service requests and waiting for the provider. RingCentral’s system was intuitive, we could easily make an adjustment, test it, and push it to live.”
Safeguarding not only the business but employees’ well-being
As helpful as RingCentral was for Valda Energy’s business operations during the lockdowns, and as proud as the company is to have been able to support its customers through this disruptive period, the company discovered an equally significant benefit from deploying cloud communications before the pandemic.
At some point after the quarantines, Valda Energy began allowing people back into the office. “Because we have a flexible communications platform, moving our team home or to the office doesn’t create challenges or compromise our service quality. We can focus on prioritising employee well-being and ensuring all of our service channels are kept open.”
During industry discussions with regulators and energy companies, we heard that some suppliers struggled to maintain customer service levels during the lockdowns. We’re proud that Valda Energy didn’t experience any reductions in service quality, which was enabled by RingCentral solutions.