Marketing Cloud, Trailhead...
Centrica Hive and Salesforce make smart homes a reality.
Sarah finished her shift at the local hospital later than expected. But she’s already changed the timer for her heating, turned on her hallway lights, and checked her cat is safely indoors for the night. So when she eventually gets home, it’s warm and welcoming.
From plugs and bulbs to leak monitors and heating thermostats, our homes are getting smarter. And that means they are becoming more energy-efficient and cost-effective too. For example, Hive Active Heating can help the average household save up to £120 per year from not having to heat an empty home.
Centrica Hive has been blazing a trail in smart homes since 2013 and now has more than 1.9 million customers. “With AI-powered devices and insights, we help people take control of their home environment anytime, anywhere,” said Neil Procter, Global Head of Customer Platform for Centrica Hive. “A more connected home brings peace of mind and makes daily living easier.“
And Procter can vouch for that - in more ways than one. When a set of keys went missing at his home, he was able to solve the mystery by replaying footage on his Hive View cameras. “We couldn’t believe it; our two-year-old son had buried the keys in the sandpit in the garden,” revealed Procter. “Although we originally installed the cameras for security reasons, we now also use them to capture special family moments. The privacy settings mean we can determine when the cameras are set to record.”
Salesforce has been helping Centrica Hive automate, integrate, and accelerate customer journeys since day one. “We have a lot of customer touchpoints, so getting a 360-degree view can be difficult especially when it involves high volumes of unstructured website or app data,” explained Procter. “With Salesforce, we can bring all our customer interactions and support channels together, which means we can be more proactive and predictive.”
Centrica Hive is not just leveraging AI to make people’s lives easier and their homes smarter; it’s also enriching customer support, personalising communications, and predicting buying behaviours. “We want to keep improving the customer and colleague experience,” explained Procter. “With Salesforce, we can bring the power of AI to more of our processes and teams.”
For example, 50% of queries about Hive Active Heating and Hive Hub products can be handled via Service Cloud Einstein chatbots without the need for adviser intervention. The chatbots enable customers to resolve common queries 24x7 and have helped to reduce response times by 95%.
Customers can also troubleshoot issues via the Hive App: for example if a customer's Hive Active Heating system is offline, a dynamic troubleshooting tool will walk them through getting back online. Nearly 50% of customers who use the tool get their heating back online without intervention from a customer service adviser - this rises to over 85% when it's a first-time issue.
If a customer is unable to resolve a problem with a Hive Active Heating or Hive Hub via the app, a ticket is automatically raised by Service Cloud and knowledge resources emailed via Marketing Cloud. This type of proactive approach has helped to halve the number of contacts received by the customer service team in relation to a battery issue with certain thermostats. “We want to empower customers to solve their own - and even each other’s - problems,” said Procter.
Centrica Hive has created a customer community to enable just this type of peer-to-peer support. Built on Community Cloud, it has attracted more 130,000 users. As well as encouraging customers to share product tips, the community also acts as a great feedback mechanism for Centrica Hive. “With Community Cloud, we can get a better understanding of how customers use our products and their ideas for new features,” commented Procter.
As demand for smart homes increases, Centrica Hive plans to use the community as a way for people to become accredited to install and support its products. It is already using the Local Heroes platform, which is part of the British Gas and Centrica family, to put customers in touch with local experts.
British Gas and Centrica engineers play a key role in helping to promote and install Hive products. With energy efficiency and renewables becoming a big focus for utility companies and homeowners alike, this collaboration could be taken a step further with Hive devices being used to help manage the off-grid storage of excess home-generated energy. “We want to help people reduce their carbon footprint so they can play their part in tackling climate change,” said Procter. “With Salesforce, we can spin up new integrations and innovations really easily, which enables us to keep pace with new business initiatives.”
Centrica Hive had to put this agility to the test during the COVID-19 pandemic. As well as introducing self-service options for installing some smart home products, it had to transition its 440-plus customer service advisers to work from home. “We had to change how we approached training and knowledge transfer while the team was working remotely,” explained Joanne Smith, a Service and Technical Adviser at Centrica Hive. “We created some really cool videos to enable the advisers to quickly follow a Service Cloud workflow while resolving a customer query.”
Despite these sudden and unexpected changes, the Net Promoter Score for Hive Active Heating customers actually increased by eight points during the height of the pandemic in spring 2020.
Communication is a key part of the Centrica Hive customer experience both during and after the sales process. It has created a number of journeys within Marketing Cloud to support order fulfilment, product activation, and device education as well promotional campaigns. “With Marketing Cloud, we can share personalised content at different stages of the customer journey and adapt our approach based on how people respond,” commented Procter. “This is particularly key when confirming an order as there are so many different options for different products.”
Centrica Hive has also combined Marketing Cloud with propensity model outputs, which are based on customers’ previous purchases. “We can predict which products a customer might buy next and be more targeted with our upsell emails,” added Procter. Centrica Hive’s personalised approach has proved a big hit with its customers. The open rate for MyHive emails is more than 80% with a click-through rate of up to 30%.
Centrica Hive wants to provide a similarly contextual experience for visitors to its website, which is built on Heroku. “We want to use existing customer data to personalise online content on a one-to-one basis,” explained Procter. “With Heroku, we can test new strategies more easily and scale more quickly. It makes life a lot simpler for our web developers.”
Centrica Hive is leveraging Heroku as part of a project to improve the online purchase journey for all its products. Changes to the first two web pages have proved a massive success with a 21% rise in new customer visits, a 15% boost to conversion rates, and a massive 369% increase in total order values.
Although the website is Centrica Hive’s prime route to market, it also sells its products via a network of partners, such as insurance companies. These sales are captured on a partner community and then amalgamated with website and app orders, which are reflected in a customer’s record in real-time. Service advisers can not only see these transactions but also if and how customers have responded to email communications and marketing campaigns.