home Customer Experience, Executive Profiles Bridging the Say-Do Gap. Interview with Allison Dorogoj from Simply Energy

Bridging the Say-Do Gap. Interview with Allison Dorogoj from Simply Energy

Simply Energy is an energy retailer with over 700,000 commercial and residential customers across Australia. Allison Dorogoj is Head of Customer Experience and Sales at Simply Energy. Mark Atterby, CXFocus Editor, Interviews Allison about the difference between what people say they will do and what they actually do.

Mark Atterby (MA): Allison, can you please provide a background to your career and an explanation of your role at Simply Energy?

Allison Dorogoj (AD): I’m drawn to organisations where there is a clear customer-centric purpose. Prior to Simply Energy, I held a number of roles across marketing, customer experience. digital, product innovation and transformation. These roles have spanned multiple industries including telecommunications and advertising as well as energy.

In my current role, I lead the combined customer experience and sales functions at Simply Energy. This role is focused on delivering a profitable customer portfolio and leading the effort to tailor both acquisition and retention experiences. It’s about aligning our frontline customer experiences to deliver on the commercial ambitions, brand promise and our high expectations of quality.

I have accountability across sales, partnerships, and customer communications. So, all of our retention comms as well as our customer experience team. The key purpose of bringing that together was to really align and be consistent with the experiences we’re putting to market through our agents but also through our communications. It’s a really unique opportunity to lift the bar on CX across all of our customer moments.

(MA): From your various roles what is the most important thing that you have learnt about customer experience and innovation?

(AD): I always come back to bridging the Say – Do gap. What people say they will do and what they actually do in practice can be very different. Most people can relate to that in some way. For instance, in my experience most people would actively state they care about the environment and want to be green – but this can change when you’re expected to pay more for something, and that greener option becomes discretionary.

(MA): Does this present a significant challenge when you’re trying to introduce a new experience or product to market or to take action based on customer feedback?

(AD): You need to be very clear on the problem you’re trying to solve and use research and data carefully to deliberately shape the solution. Test your solution in market, preferably on a small scale and then be prepared to adapt your offer, your message, and your go-to-market approach if needed. Measure the results and once you are satisfied then you can scale up.

Rather than surveying and asking customers ‘would you use this, or would you be interested in something set up in this way?’, they won’t know if they really want it until they can actually experience it as well as see a price point and go through the buying journey.

MA: Can you provide an anecdote or example of this?

AD: Sure. I’ve got two examples that are relatively recent. The first is around the implementation of an AI program that we’ve used for customer retention. The program helps us measure their real experiences rather than relying on asking their opinion of their last interaction with us through something like NPS or CSAT. Every treatment plan or message we put to customers, to discourage them from leaving, is tested against a control group before we take it to market at scale. We only take to market what has proven to be effective.

We retest these messages every six months to ensure they remain relevant. This gives us real insights into what customers will do based on their treatment plan as opposed to what they say they will do.

The other example involves the work we’ve done on the onboarding journey for customers. We spent a good part of last year testing a lot of ideas, including things like digital adoption incentives, and testing what impact that has on customers staying with us in their first year which is a high event moment where customers tend to switch providers.

We’ve checked what works, and we’ve measured against control groups, this year we’ll be putting at scale key programs that have demonstrated an improvement in retention in that first 12 months.

(MA): What are your top priorities for 2023?

The first is faster insight to action across our Voice of Customer program. This is exciting as we explore analytics platforms and link ‘ease of doing business’ metrics into our key customer journeys, such as customer effort score – which I find more actionable than Net Promoter Score and even Customer Satisfaction. The focus will be on optimisation to ensure we continue to uplift the experience for our customers and performance for our business.

We’re also working building programs to support vulnerable customers. As affordability and cost of living concerns impact more and more Australians, we need to ensure we have the right programs in place to help our customers when they most need it. Our customers need to know what options they have with us and demonstrating empathy during this process will be a key focus as we build out an impactful program of work.

Bringing a consistent experience across our sales channels, customer communications and CX programs of work. A key benefit of bringing together our sales and customer experience teams is to ensure we leverage the good work cross-functionally and drive a consistent experience for agents and customers, with a key focus on first-time resolution.

MA: What do you see as the key trends that CX execs and professionals need to stay on top of?

AD: The key trend I’m focused on at the moment is the intersection of AI and behavioural science. While there is no silver bullet to keeping customers, there is a proven approach that leverages AI, big data and behavioural science. So, starting with the accuracy of AI prediction, once you can predict with high accuracy who is going to leave, you need to immediately take action by appropriate treatment paths.

This is where we’re using behavioural science and big data to drive the design of service-based messages to target at-risk customers. The objective is to shift their behaviour from leaving to staying, where they are feeling more satisfied with the relationship they have with the organisation and the brand.

Personalisation is another key area. We’ve moved away from hyper-personalisation or one-to-one personalisation, to relevant personalisation. It’s where we’re spending a lot of time. Rather than personalisation for personalisation’s sake, if someone’s on a payment plan or having affordability issues, it’s about personalising messages and experiences that might be more relevant in that particular context.

MA: What have been the greatest successes or highlights in your career?

AD: I thrive in outcomes-driven, high-energy teams, where it is ok for something not to work, as long as it is measured and there is a learning. The roles, projects and teams I am most proud of are the complex ones. The ones requiring a different way of thinking, collaboration on many levels, and not necessarily one answer to the problem.

Being able to work on new business and revenue models to drive the take up of renewable energy in the Australian market, in line with our parent company ENGIE’s ambitions to reach net zero by 2045, has been impactful and meaningful on both a professional and personal front.

Allison is presenting at the Customer Show in Melbourne 3 – 4 May, Fireside Chat – Driving ROI in CX: How to Ensure You’re Measuring and Proving ROI in CX to Drive Longterm Investments

Mark Atterby

Mark Atterby has 18 years media, publishing and content marketing experience.