Market Research

How EnergyAustralia is moving from insights to outcomes

For too long research has simply focused on measuring.

But all measurement does is tell you what you’ve done or where you’ve been. What value is this when business moves at incredible speed and at a time when every dollar counts?

The most successful organizations today go beyond measurement to take action on their research insights. Businesses that take action find out what’s driving customer satisfaction and then do more of it to increase it further. They uncover customer preferences and behaviors to align operations with them. And they optimize resources and budget by focusing on what they know matters to customers.

EnergyAustralia, one of Australia’s leading energy retailers, is a great example of a business taking action with Qualtrics. But to get there, the research and insights team at EnergyAustralia had to change its approach to the way it conducted research.

“When we started making recommendations to the business we quickly discovered hard metrics - like churn, margins, and cost to serve - were driving decisions. Soft metrics - like satisfaction and sentiment - were harder to convert into tangible action. We knew the soft metrics had an important role to play in decision making, but rather than ask the business to rethink how it worked, it was more achievable for the research team to change our approach. And that meant talking in a way the business understands, by using financial metrics,” explained Nick Biggin, Research Leader at EnergyAustralia.

Uncovering lead indicators

By creating a clear link between research and business metrics EnergyAustralia was able to drive action.

With its new approach to research, EnergyAustralia was able to unlock more value the further it drilled down into insights. One of the first discoveries was being able to use NPS scores for certain customer segments as a predictor of churn.

This provided the business with the tangible financial returns required to stand business cases up with confidence that they would not only deliver improvements of the experience of customers, but also drive a beneficial outcome for the business as well.

From here the EnergyAustralia team scaled up the program to uncover more identifiable insights, using a blend of panel and survey data integrated on the Qualtrics Platform.

“As we increased data volumes we were able to match insights with more outcomes, such as what will drive complaints. Through this process we refined our program, and was able to deliver a clear link between financial metrics and NPS. Instead of saying here’s a model of NPS, we could say here’s what drives NPS within the cohort of customers we’re looking to move.

“This slightly different lens on customer data helped the business get more value from insights, and moving forward has ensured we’re incorporating NPS into future planning,” said Biggin.

Agile research in action

To realize the full value of insights, EnergyAustralia also changed the types of studies being conducted to enable the agile nature of the business. Traditional studies, which often took months and were outsourced, were brought in-house and now completed in weeks - and in some instances even hours. Having direct access to a research platform also simplified the procurement process organizations often face when launching new studies, further accelerating time to insights and increasing the value research brings to the organization.

“In agile environments you’re operating at speed and need to do more tactical research. Using Qualtrics, EnergyAustralia is able to generate customized surveys and add in more controls of samples. This has cut the time to insights by more than half, lowered the costs involved, and provides real-time insights to ensure we’re focused on the right things,” said Biggin.

Research is now business-critical to EnergyAustralia, with members of the team entrenched across the business to support planning.

“No-one understands the business like people in the business. Bringing research in house enables EnergyAustralia to get closer to the generation of insights and link them to organizational data.

“We’ve had instances where we’ve got results back in a couple of days to guide our media spend. This allows us to operate at pace and use live data in our decision-making process. This is particularly important when working in an agile environment where you are prioritizing the realization of value quickly, and then iterating as you go,” explained Biggin.

Rethinking research

Such is the speed of business today, it’s imperative businesses transform the way they do research. It’s a point summed up by our Founder Ryan Smith during WorkDifferent.

“The old-school systems of measurement are reactive, leading companies to chase their tail solving 'every hour' issues. The Qualtrics system of action helps you be proactive, to solve the root cause, overhaul processes, and fix broken experiences. It makes it drop-dead simple to identify and fix the most important experiences first, so your team is always focused on the areas that lead to the biggest impact.”

EnergyAustralia is the embodiment of this new approach to research, with its new-found ability to act at the speed markets demand ensuring the company is moving forward the right way.


Watch this webinar with EnergyAustralia to find out how it's turning insights into action