Utilities market research - including energy market research and water market research – is a sector in which DJS Research has vast experience. We have worked with numerous regulatory bodies, water and energy companies and other utilities providers and service clients, some of which are pictured below, to deliver a range of qualitative and quantitative research projects utilising the full array of research techniques. We work for clients on either an ad-hoc or tracking basis, and currently provide customer service research on a daily basis for one of the world’s largest energy retailers.
Water Market Research
The government’s Water Bill aims to deliver a more sustainable, resilient and customer orientated sector. Thus, the demand for market research among water companies has increased in recent years in anticipation of these changes. Indeed, in the last 2 years DJS Research has worked with 6 of the 10 WaSCs in England and Wales, carrying out market research with consumers and businesses across a range of areas:
- Willingness to pay and acceptability research
- Customer satisfaction (B2C and B2B) including SIM replica surveys
- Key account research
- Stakeholder research
- Water demand research e.g. demand management surveys; research looking into future supply and demand options; research into saving water; water saving devices
- Mains rehabilitation
With the water sector due to open to all businesses in 2017, we anticipate that water companies will need to research a wide range of issues, such as:
- Customer communication approaches
- Differentiation through customer service
- Pricing and tariff research
In addition, it is likely that water market research will continue to focus on several key issues currently on-going in the sector, such as water demand management; metering and the potential need for a ‘Green Deal for water’.
Clients for whom DJS Research has recently carried out water market research projects have said:
"DJS Research took the time to understand our research requirements and responded with a professional proposal that added value to our research objectives and was also very good value for money. The whole project ran smoothly with no delays and was professionally managed throughout. I would be happy to use DJS Research for any future studies and would recommend them to others." United Utilities
“DJS has been carrying out customer satisfaction surveys for Southern Water since July 2010. The service provided has been excellent. The team are extremely flexible in meeting our needs and have been invaluable in assisting us in designing our surveys.” Southern Water
“Ali and Lyn were always friendly, approachable, professional and eager to provide a good service.” Yorkshire Water
The results of some of our utilities market research in the water industry were recently featured in Utility Week, a leading UK publication dedicated to utilities news.
Energy Market Research
We work with energy organisations on both the retail and distribution side of the industry and keep up to date with developments in the sector through attending energy market research events, electricity conferences and other relevant gatherings. Ali Sims has completed research on behalf of some of the UK’s largest energy sector bodies and is experienced in applying market research methodologies to a wide array of business problems.
Energy Market Research – Retail Experience
Research for Ofgem has highlighted growing consumer disengagement from the energy market with 70% of consumers neither switching supplier, tariff or payment method in 2012. The research also showed trust in energy suppliers to be on the decline.
Ofgem’s Retail Market Reform is the first step towards engaging consumers and building their trust. Under the reform, retailers are being asked to provide consumers with fewer, simpler tariffs and clearer explanations of what their options are. In a market where differentiation has been increasingly based on price, retailers are now looking at alternative ways of standing out e.g. through energy management or the provision of excellent customer service and the early signs are that companies trialling smart metering or who have introduced ECO are benefitting from higher levels of customer satisfaction and customer trust from those affected by such initiatives.
Ali Sims, who leads the utilities and energy market research team at DJS Research, has vast experience researching businesses, consumers and suppliers across a range of issues affecting the market including:
- Customer satisfaction tracking
- Customer needs
- Customer loyalty
- Energy management
- Pricing, tariffs and contracts
- Energy services including Green Deal and ECO
“I have been delighted with the research. As you already know I was very impressed with the qualitative interviews and the debrief was also very good. The feedback I have received from others who attended was that they were impressed and found the findings useful and the debrief easy to understand and comprehensive. I was very pleased with the service that DJS offered as a whole and feel that they grasped the objectives of the project very well and understand the SME business well which enables them to get the best out of the respondents.” E.on
Energy Market Research - Distribution Experience
Energy network providers are facing numerous challenges as they try to juggle the evolving nature of electricity generation with the changing patterns in customer demand.
With usage of electricity predicted to increase in the future as more homes and cars become reliant on this mode of energy, providers are challenged with meeting the demands being placed on them at a low cost to customers.
Ofgem’s new RIIO aims to drive real benefits to consumers by incentivising DNOs to meet the challenges of delivering a sustainable energy sector at a lower cost. The Energy and Utilities team at DJS has extensive experiencing of conducting research for DNOs and can help providers meet these challenges by conducting research with customers. Our experience covers:
- Customer needs research covering outages; connections and excavations
- Vulnerable customer research – sensitively conducted with customers and charities
With increasing focus being placed on the needs of small service connections and vulnerable customers, we are well placed to help DNOs better understand these audiences.
Utilities Market Research - Regulatory and Other Industry Bodies
We have also carried out research for Consumer Focus which relates to complaints in the Utilities sector and is available in the public domain. In addition, we have also carried out research with low-income energy customers in Wales, in to the potential for collective switching. This was again completed on behalf of Consumer Focus (now Consumer Futures) and can be found here.
In addition, we have carried out research for the likes of HW Martin Waste, Go-Lo Macclesfield (a community interest company focusing on sustainable living), Artesia Consulting (a company helping to facilitate sustainable management of water resources) and Echo Managed Services, an organisation providing water management services to public and private sector bodies.
If you would like to see our most recent edition of Insights for this sector, detailing the latest research findings, please click here.
Please feel free to have a look at our utilities sector insights and research findings which can be found here: Utilities Research Findings or for automatic updates follow our Utilities Twitter account: @DJS_Utilities