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Creating Customer Centricity

Talk With Kotter
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In the early 2010s, a Canadian energy company was under increasing pressure. As a government-owned monopoly up to this point, customer-centricity hadn’t been quite as much of a focus. Suddenly, they had competition. Their customers were leaving the energy grid for cheaper and more socially conscious energy solutions. Customer mindsets about the level of service expected of vendors were changing, too. In response to this changing market, their CEO shared a vision for the future he wanted to create: a 25-year plan to shift the company toward energy efficiency, better product offerings, and customer-centricity. They wanted to go beyond the meter and into peoples’ homes with energy smart products and services.

Key aspects of this customer-centricity transformation included:

  • Shifting focus from electron production to maintenance of a smart grid to continue serving their customers as people invested in personal and community energy projects.
  • Introducing new energy-efficient products and services and branded solutions and programs to customers to deepen their relationship “beyond the meter.”
  • Gradually decommissioning non-renewable plants and reinvesting in the upgrades at their nuclear and hydro facilities to meet customer demands for renewable energy. This ensures base load for the province – i.e. if all the solar panels in the province couldn’t generate enough supply, nuclear and hydro-powered plants would be used to cover the remainder.

The organization engaged Kotter in 2015 to help them build the internal capability to successfully execute – and accelerate – this multi-decade strategic plan to transform from a power company to a customer-centric energy company: effectively, erect an entirely new business model. We started this work by aligning senior leaders around a strong vision that could become a rallying cry to employees driving change. This statement focused on the opportunity before them: to leverage their incredible existing resources and people to become their customers’ partner of choice.

Next, the senior leaders and Kotter engaged with employees at all levels of the organization to get behind this new vision for the future. One of the initiatives to enhance customer centricity included promoting energy literacy to turn every employee into an unofficial salesperson and company advocate, driving culture change around customer obsession. They also empowered employees at every level of the business to make smart financial decisions for the company and increased idea sharing across business units to scale impact. Doing so enabled everyone in the business to participate in ways big and small, driving incredible results across financial and cultural dimensions to help them become the energy leader of the future.

"We had been a monopoly, but now understood the need to be much more engaged, transparent and involved with our customers. If we didn’t move in that direction, our customers now had other choices for the first time. This meant we needed to change the traditional culture to be more agile, adjust our mindsets and engage our entire workforce in the effort so we could be our customers’ first choice as new options became available to them."



Cost and revenue enhancements (one-time and annualized) achieved across strategic initiatives


Employees became company ambassadors, engaged in change


Honored as Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Culture in the public sector on the heels of our partnership