Are you trying to grow your tech business? Have you ever considered to work with your competitors to do so? To explore this subject, Flavilla interviewed Rebecca. She is the Product and Marketing Director of Octopus Energy and works with different teams including marketers, designers and front-end developers. Her work has been central to Octopus’ success as a new type of energy provider.
Rebecca’s journey in tech
Before she met Octopus Energy, she worked for British Gas for eight years. She says that “British Gas is a great business with great people but very constrained by a base of customers and some systems that were very hard to work with”. So, Rebecca started looking around, until she met Greg Jackson, the CEO and founder of Octopus Energy. Rebecca loved his vision of a fairer society, cheaper and greener power, that fights against climate change backed up by an incredible technology. She felt there that she could contribute to the business while contributing to a new change. Then she decided to move from British Gas to Octopus Energy. For this reason, Rebecca always advises that you should follow your gut instinct.
The vision of Octopus Energy
Octopus Energy is set up to bring cheaper and greener power to everyone.
Big traditional suppliers hampered by old systems, used to dominate the energy industry. The founders believed there could be a better way of delivering energy through using technology to bring down prices. Humans need to move to a world where renewable power is the norm. Fortunately, the company has been established with that sole purpose and vision.
The success of Octopus Energy
Octopus Energy has acquired over 1.5 million customers within four years! Rebecca told us that one of the reasons for the company’s success is the people. The company makes sure they hire brilliant people. The reason of this it’s because they want people that take accountability and responsibility for the job. They believe that customer acquisition flows naturally when you trust smart people, make clear tasks and let them move fast while being creative at the same time.
Another reason for their success is the confident customer experience they deliver. They have trained their staff to deliver very personalised customer service. For instance, if customers call the organisation, they will deal with the customer’s query straight away, not redirecting their call from one person to another. Therefore, all customers are put into a particular team of energy specialists, so you will always speak to the same people. As a result of having an efficient customer system, they can handle more customers per team member compared to their competitors.
So, the beautiful balance of the excellent customer service delivered by brilliant people and tighter operating costs is the secret of Octopus Energy’s success.
How to work with competitors?
It may surprise you that working with competitors helps your tech business grow. Rebecca shared an example of Octopus Energy doing this, showing the benefits it can bring to you.
The energy industry traditionally charges customers a fixed price per kilowatt-hour they use. However, Octopus technology helps us charge customers a different price depending on how ‘green’ energy is on the grid. Moreover, Energy suppliers including ourselves are also looking for ways to store green energy on the grid for electric cars. Currently, we are running a trial on this while OVO Energy is doing the same in North and Scotland
Obviously, we want to be competitive and get more customers than others, but when you look at a higher level, climate change is one of the pressing issues of our time. We need to move away from fossil fuels and use renewable power instead. There’s a lot of energy companies looking at how they can support the energy industry by transitioning to a world where renewable power is more flexible. Many competing energy companies work alongside each other on projects looking at how to unlock greener power, with the sole purpose of fighting climate change and improving the world we live in.
Try to see a bigger picture, bigger vision and the bigger purpose. Then, you can turn your competitors into partners to work with.
About the speaker
Rebecca Dibb-Simkin is Marketing and Product Director at the multi-award-winning energy supplier tech business Octopus Energy. She works with a team of marketers, designers and front-end developers. Their sole purpose is to redefine the UK energy system by using technology, data and great people.
Her work has been central to Octopus’ success as a new type of energy provider. Its 100% renewable electricity, digital-first approach and in-house technology have not just won over 1.5m customers in four years; it’s powered the company’s expansion into Australia and Germany. Octopus is also the only provider to win Which? ‘s recommended energy supplier for three years in a row. Rebecca was previously Head of Product at IOT company Hive, supporting its growth as a smart home provider.0 Tags: customer service, renewable energy, tech business, tech entrepreneur