“Don’t stop engaging once the change is delivered: it’s important to give people the opportunity to ask for further improvements and to share new ideas. Change works best when it’s continuous..”

Thomas Steen, Business Change Analyst, Centrica Hive 


Whether he’s scoping out a product change or selecting his next holiday destination, Thomas Steen likes to plan - and then plan a bit more. We talked to the Business Change Analyst from Centrica Hive about why it’s important to focus on the details and how crisps and cycling help him keep projects on track.


Tell us about your career with Centrica Hive  

I’ve been working with the company for nearly seven years, so we’ve kind of grown up together. When I joined, Centrica Hive was primarily focused on active heating, now it offers a range of smart home solutions - I am a big fan of the motion sensors and lightbulbs. I can’t remember the last time I touched a light switch!  I started at the service front line resolving customer queries and then moved into a continuous improvement role where I helped colleagues prepare for change. Now I am the person helping to scope out and execute those changes. My time as a customer service adviser really helped me understand the different processes and pain points. I love taking an idea and coming up with a change that makes people’s lives better and easier. 


How do you make an idea become a reality?

Once someone has submitted a summary of their idea, we’ll spend time together to flesh it out in more detail. Depending on the idea, this can take several weeks as we need to define the concept and assess the impact. What might seem like a simple change could actually affect lots of different processes and teams - we have to document all the touchpoints both internally and for the customer journey. I love detail, so I really enjoy this process. I can’t even plan a holiday without drawing up a detailed spreadsheet first! 


Tell us about a change that you are particularly proud of 

The transition from Salesforce Classic to the Lightning Experience is a great example as it impacted so many processes - from how we sell our products to how customers manage returns. All our data is in Salesforce, so we had to make sure the migration was seamless. The pilot programme was really useful as it highlighted some areas that needed a bit more work. Users were able to share their feedback via Chatter, which we then discussed in more detail in focus group sessions. We also created a number of Salesforce Sandboxes for user acceptance testing. We went live with Lightning in March 2020 - and everyone loves it, me included! The customisation options are really popular as it means individual advisers can personalise their dashboard to match their different roles in customer service.  


What’s next on the radar?

We’ve only just scratched the surface with Lightning - there are loads of cool features. I am really excited about seeing how the Lightning Web Components can help us build a more intuitive journey for our service advisers. Lightning has already increased their efficiency enabling them to handle multiple customer chats simultaneously. We’re also in the middle of transforming the online purchase journey for all our products. The first two pages that we updated have been a massive success: total order values are up by 369% and overall conversion rates have increased by 16%. 


How did the COVID-19 pandemic impact your ability to execute change? 

I am used to working with business stakeholders remotely, so relocating to my dining room table didn’t really hamper my process or future plans. Although it did impact my eating habits as I am now much closer to the snack drawer in my kitchen: my workspace is constantly covered in crisps and chocolate bar wrappers! I had to dig out my old bike from the shed to work off all the snacks - it’s also a great way to clear my head. If I am struggling to solve a problem, a ride to a loch will normally get the ideas flowing again. During lockdown, I missed not being able to stop for a cup of tea and a chat with colleagues. We decided to introduce virtual tea breaks to give us a chance to chat about personal stuff - it’s been a really good way to stay connected.  


What are your tips for delivering change successfully? 

Engaging stakeholders is critical. It’s important to keep everyone updated on how a change is progressing. And don’t stop engaging once the change is delivered. You need to give people the opportunity to ask for further improvements and to share new ideas - change works best when it’s continuous. The possibilities with Salesforce are endless, so it can be easy to get carried away. Every time you have a new idea, take a step back and think about how it will benefit the business and the users. Finally, make sure you have access to a well-stocked snack drawer! 

By constantly optimising its processes and unlocking new insights, Centrica Hive can ensure its customers get the most from their smart home solutions. Learn more about how Centrica Hive is using AI to enrich the colleague and customer experience here