Cambridge Gas & Electricity – stakeholder relations

What was important to us is that they are confident enough to stick with their views even if it means an open discussion with their clients.

Marketing Manager, Utilities Sector

Using Customer communication to build strong relationships

Client

Following the liberalisation of gas and electricity supply in the UK, Cambridge Gas & Electricity was set up by Cambridge Water to supply gas and electricity to customers living in the Cambridge area.

Type

Retainer

Services

Agency co-ordination, Copywriting, Crisis PR, Design and print management, Internal communication, Media Relations, Profile definition & development, Sponsorship, Stakeholder relations

Brief

Phillips Profile was initially called in to review customer communications, to ensure that every letter sent to customers was easy to understand and had a consistent tone of voice. The brief then expanded to include the broader need to build a strong relationship with customers and to attract new customers in a very competitive, volatile market.

Result

  • More than 90 separate items of customer communication, from the initial welcome letter to responses to bill queries, were reviewed and rewritten.
  • In order to differentiate Cambridge Gas & Electricity (CG&E) in an increasingly crowded and confusing market, the PR and advertising programme that was devised focused on the localness of the company, targeting potential customers in the Cambridge area and seeking to build strong relationships with customers once they had been signed up. Elements included a quarterly newsletter offering advice about saving energy; a regular prize draw for customers; local press, cinema and outdoor advertising; sponsorship of the local newspaper’s coverage of surrounding villages; local press competitions; and sponsoring 10 local primary schools’ visits to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust reserve at Welney including adopting swans on behalf of the schools.
  • To offset the high-pressure environment created by operating in such a competitive market, an internal communications programme to boost staff morale was devised and delivered focusing on bringing staff together as a team.
  • One of the most important strands of the programme was safeguarding CG&E’s reputation. At a time when the media was full of stories about problems with the new utility companies and aggressive doorstep agents, customer complaints could quickly escalate into news stories. Acting as an extension of CG&E’s customer services, Phillips Profile worked closely with the local radio station to ensure that customer complaints that reached them were handled and resolved appropriately, demonstrating the seriousness with which the company approached its customer service obligations.