Balancing Priorities in the Age of Customer Centricity

Andy Vale

By Andy Vale
25 Sep 2017

5 min read


In the age of the customer, your audience is permanently connected to multiple channels, informed, and with sky-high expectations of brands when they contact them to make a purchase or receive support.

Critically, Forrester highlights that customers "don’t care if building these experiences is hard or requires a complex, multi-function approach from across your business. They want immediate value and will go elsewhere if you can’t provide it."1 So how can you deliver this level of focus to your customers every single time, across your entire contact centre, while also being mindful of your own resources?

We caught up with Simone Pignatelli, Senior Digital Acquisition Manager at British Gas Business, to see how they're delivering a consistent, customer-centric cross-channel approach to their digital marketing sales funnel.

In a rush? Head here to read the British Gas Business case study with Infinity.

Infinity: With so many potential touchpoints throughout a customer journey, how do you decide which ones matter the most?

Pignatelli: Our strategy is informed by how customers prefer to communicate and convert, we have to react to the ways they want to do business with us. Many of our leads come through the website, and if we can convert people directly there then that's great. But the conversion rate says that we need to be reactive on other channels too. For us, inbound calls are more valuable as once someone picks up the phone it’s often a decision maker with high intent to buy in the near future.

On average, these callers are five times more likely to convert than someone filling out a form on the site. Therefore, making sure we know what's causing them to pick up the phone and having a team ready to provide an industry-leading standard of service is paramount.

When driving traffic to the British Gas site, how do you ensure it remains relevant?

We've kept a close eye on what marketing activity brings in visitors that convert, and we continuously act accordingly to ensure we reach a relevant audience. For example, we've cut down on display and programmatic advertising as it wasn't as effective as other channels at driving meaningful clicks. Instead, this budget has been shifted to other activities, such as keywords that we know deliver results, and affiliates.

Why is search delivering such good results for you?

In B2B, timing is important as all of our customers are already very busy. Search shows an intent to research a specific solution, receive a quote, and ideally complete the best possible purchase fast. Getting your search strategy right will put you in front of those prospects, with something they want.

With buyer journeys spending more time on research and making multiple visits before calling, how do you know when you've got the right keywords?

We really look at what’s performing over time by understanding the whole picture of our prospects' web journeys. This includes identifying what multiple visits lead to, and also what website exits mean. For example, the end of a web visit could be a drop off, or it could be someone making a call. Two very different outcomes that require different strategic responses.

Luckily, with Infinity, we could see the whole web journey from the first touch to the last, and also seeing when an exit was in fact from a call.

What sort of results have you seen as a result of reacting to the insights provided by Infinity?

Due to our improved ability to attribute what lead to prospects becoming customers, we have managed to reduce our PPC spend by 15%. Infinity identified terms that were generating sales further down the funnel, as well as ones that were simply leading to clicks but nothing more.

Infinity has also been used to optimise our contact centre, as the call data showed that around lunch hours we weren't responding to prospects on the phone as efficiently as we would like. As a result, we've staggered the lunch times of our phone agents to provide a continued level of high performance throughout working hours.

With many customers using price comparison sites to choose their energy, how do you stand out in the market?

We get a lot of traffic from them, but we're keen to have a discussion around value that focuses on more than cost alone. When people come directly to us, we offer a level of expertise and guidance that you don’t get from a third-party site as well as services that aren't included on comparison sites.

Often, someone more junior will shop around based on price alone, but once we speak with the decision makers, they appreciate the quality of service that we offer. Content plays a part in getting people to think about the place energy plays within their business, and the longer-term benefits that a more advanced service will bring.

British Gas produce a large amount of content around energy-related topics, what are your goals with this, and how do you measure them?

The content strategy has been more to do with giving the brand a voice on relevant topics, or recent news than directly driving sales. But it has unquestionable SEO benefits, and as a result is responsible for a lot of first touches with prospects. It keeps the site fresh too. We started this activity a few years ago and over time it has grown to a point where it drives lots of organic traffic.

How do you keep all of your external agencies delivering a consistent service in terms of reporting results and customer-facing output?

The strength of our partnerships is built on straightforward, frequent communication. To deliver consistent messaging, branding, and purpose, we try to be as clear as possible in terms of target audience and objectives. A big part of this is ensuring all of our partners are aware of key differences between us and other energy providers.

Where there are challenges it's important to communicate roadblocks clearly so. This incentivises them to produce high quality work that meets the customer's expectations of us.

Head over to our case studies page to see how Infinity is driving efficiencies in customer acquisition at British Gas Business. If you're a business who receives calls for sales or support purposes, start a conversation with us today to see how Infinity empowers you to make each call better than the last.


1) "Age Of The Customer", Forrester, 2017

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