From energy provider to customer-centric service organization

The starting point

The world of energy supply is undergoing substantial change. Rising energy prices and shortages in skilled labor and raw material play a role in this transformation, and alongside these factors are promising technological developments in renewable energies, mobility, and ICT. Potential deregulation also shifts the focal point closer to the customer, implicating the necessity for utility companies to establish a clear market position and to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Alignment with customer needs is of particular significance in this regard, as it establishes the company as one that practices responsible governance, thus enabling refinement of existing customer relationships as well as attainment of new customers. This strategy applies at SAK, which aspires to clearly position itself as a customer-centric service organization.

Our assignment

A deep understanding of customer expectations is an integral component of developing SAK into a successful service organization in energy and ICT. Customer satisfaction with SAK’s energy service is just one objective – customers should also be willing to emphatically recommend SAK in other areas such as tele­communi­cations and mobility, even amid meticulous implementation of unbundling (separation of production and market).

Given the scope of objectives, the following questions served as cornerstones of the project:

  • What are the relevant drivers of customers’ actions? What specific measures and contact instances have a positive impact at SAK?
  • How is SAK perceived by the customer in terms of the relevant drivers of customer loyalty and development and in terms of specific measures and contact instances? Wherein lie the strengths and weaknesses?
  • How will the project’s findings be communicated internally? How can a customer-centric culture be engrained in all business areas and all employees?


Development of the driver model for customer satisfaction

The first step toward a substantiated analysis consisted of interviewing employees and executives from different areas as well as SAK customers. A driver scheme based on the findings of these dialogues was developed. This scheme looked at customer perspective to arrange the drivers of customer satisfaction and the relevant checkpoints.

Representative customer surveyI

The next step involved conducting a representative customer survey in the business areas of energy production, ICT, and energy service in order to validate the driver model and to increase customer satisfaction at SAK. Results from the survey also enabled extraction of important findings related to the customer regarding the impact of customer satisfaction on success metrics including customer loyalty, referrals, and cross-selling potentials.

Data demonstrated at the core that SAK had already achieved a high level of customer satisfaction. However, different business areas were revealed to have various calls for action to ensure peak customer satisfaction in the future and to fortify SAK’s market position.

Measures to increase customer loyalty and customer development

Sound data regarding customer expectations and the current valuation of SAK were used to derive specific measures to optimize customer satisfaction. For example, measures to reduce reaction times and mandatory response times included clearly defined time allowances and a reduction in the number of representatives whom the customer must contact.

The driver model provides relevant implications to this end, as data can be extrapolated in terms of specific business areas rather than customer satisfaction being regarded as a whole.

Customer-centricity game for embodiment by employees

Great commitment among employees is indispensable when it comes to achieving a high level of customer satisfaction. However, PowerPoint presentations and conventional training sessions will not suffice. Rather, true appreciation and a personal relationship with the issue must be instilled.

It was determined that this could best be achieved through a game; hence, a card game was developed for SAK. Interdepartmental teams competed against each other to produce the best “recipe” for maximum customer satisfaction within an hour and a half. Valuable supplementary materials supported gameplay by ensuring association with the driver model and the results of the customer survey.


Measures to increase customer satisfaction will be continuously refined, and their impact on everyday business operations will be verified periodically. After an initial implementation phase, further measures will be launched to continually increase visibility and perception of SAK’s development into a service organization. Success of these measures will be verified in two years via collection of follow-up data from the customer.

«Findings from the driver model have been privotal in helping us set the right priorities and develop effective measures for enhancing customer satisfaction.»

Thomas Bötschi, Head of strategic marketing, SAK AG

Die Erfolgstreiber in diesem Projekt

  • Tiefes Verständnis für die Bedürfnisse der Kundinnen und Kunden mit klarer Trennung zwischen Grundversorgung und Marktleistungen
  • Faktenbasierte Identifikation von Treibern und konkreten Stellhebeln der Kundenzufriedenheit
  • Ableitung konkreter Verbesserungsmassnahmen mit kurzem Zeithorizont, um von der Strategie schnell ins konkrete "Doing" zu kommen
  • Spielerische Vermittlung der Kundenbedürfnisse an die Mitarbeitenden
  • Abteilungsübergreifende Spiele-Sessions zur Förderung eines ganzheitlichen Kundenverständnisses

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