Spark, the multi-utility supplier built around the needs of home movers, has announced a £1.5m investment in digital technology.
The investment is focused on bringing the best possible customer experience to the smartphones, tablets and desktops of the company’s 400,000 customer accounts when they interact with Spark and its telco brand Home Telecom, as well as adding more value to the partnerships Spark has with letting and estate agents across the UK.
Meanwhile the company revealed that at least 100 more staff will be hired at its Selkirk headquarters by the end of the year, taking total headcount to over 500.
The announcement comes shortly after Spark announced a record turnover of £159m in the year to June 2017, up 23% on the previous year.
Spark CEO, Chris Gauld, said: “We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our customer experience and make it easy for them to engage with us at both Spark and Home Telecom. This is a bumper month for us, with loads of new digital tech going live after months of hard work by our in-house digital team. We see this as key to bringing down prices and increasing engagement amongst renters, buyers and sellers in the home move chain.
“Our customers tell us that they’re really comfortable managing their accounts at a time and in a place that suits them. We’re delighted to step up to the mark and continue to meet that need.
“Our new smart assistant chatbot, Ami, is now live and ready to help make life easier for our customers when managing the routine aspects of their account such as going online and paperless, giving meter readings which then immediately provide an updated and accurate bill. The introduction of Ami will help free up our highly skilled customer service agents to deal with enquiries that are more complex and give even better care to those who need it most.
“This is just the start. We’re already working on the second release of our chatbot, which will include integration with Live Chat, the ability to set up a direct debit plan and to provide customers with top-up codes for their smart meters.
“We’ve a new digital-only brand for our Smart Pay As You Go customers called Swift which will allow customers to top-up 24/7 from the comfort of their sofa, office or on their daily commute – giving them flexibility in how, when and where they can top-up.
“And, coming very soon, we’ll be launching our digital home move assistant which is set to revolutionise the experience of establishing basic utilities and move in essentials. In just 10 taps and three minutes, our customers will be able to set up council tax and water accounts for their new home, select the best energy tariff for them and order broadband and other services to be live when they arrive.”
As well as launching new digital technology, Spark has also been investing in its existing platforms.
Gauld said: “We’re launching a significant update to the My Account section of our website – the portal where customers view and pay their bills. The feedback from our customers has been awesome.
“This stuff is right on the cutting edge of what utilities suppliers should be doing for their customers. But it’s got to be supported by great people and that’s why we’ll be hiring more than 100 people into Spark over the rest of this year. It’s all about offering the best tools to deliver a great customer experience and then tailoring that to the specific needs of our home mover customers.”