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How municipal utilities can optimally manage customer relation-ships right from the start (2/2)

As we already learned in the first part of our conversation with atriga Senior Key Account Manager Michael Fait, municipal utilities and energy providers listen particularly well when it comes to the application review process. Things get really exciting when he presents the capabilities of the axytos Financial and Communication Lifecycle Platform. The second part now deals with the dynamic management of contracts and the risks associated with short contract terms.

 

Data as the gold of the digital age

In this area as well, Fait is familiar with very specific questions from his discussions with municipal utilities, to which he does not want to respond using the standard data-mining and Big Data phrases. The fact is that the data from the legacy systems is often not available for an application review at many municipal utilities or cannot be used from a data technology perspective. However, flexibility in contract design is only possible if correspondingly meaningful data and reliable forecasts about the customer are available. Fait explains: “The axytos platform makes the data already available to municipal utilities immediately usable, including checking and comparison with data from axytos. From this data, municipal utilities can develop their own features for risk assessment in order to offer certain customers contract alternatives very flexibly if required.”

 

Dynamically managing contracts on the axytos platform

How could a municipal utility using the axytos platform proceed? Does it offer the customer who is interested in a certain electricity contract an attractive voucher for an electrical store in an intelligent up-selling process if he decides on an alternative tariff and thus commits himself for 24 months? Or do they demand up-front payments from precisely this customer in the down-selling process, even in the basic service, because the red creditworthiness light is on in the system? Or do those people responsible not offer the customer a contract at all, because the linked fraud prevention service company reports the suspicion of premium fraud? Fait explains: “The axytos platform can dynamically control contract conditions and the entire communication, and also integrates all current and future payment methods if, for example, the classic SEPA direct debit is not an option for a customer.”

atriga Senior Key Account Manager Michael Fait: “The axytos platform can dynamically control contract terms and the entire communication, and also integrates all current and future payment methods”.

The commercial public utility customers

The commercial sector is currently subject to extreme fluctuations. While certain sectors are booming, others are facing the effects of the pandemic. This makes it all the more important now to look deeper in B2B before signing a new contract. For example, the axytos platform allows cascading queries here as well, since the economic conditions of these customers can change very quickly.

 

Short contract terms require systematic checking

Customer behaviour is currently undergoing massive change. This is partly due to the pandemic and the resulting push in the digitalisation of many areas of life. But also in light of the share economy of the future, in which not everyone has to be an owner to be able to use something. There are already many of these contemporary, highly digitalised business models. Contract terms are getting shorter and shorter, mobile phone contracts, for example, can be reconfigured or cancelled monthly at the touch of a button. With the ‘Fair Consumer Contracts Act’, there is also a draft that ties contract terms of more than one year to additional conditions. But municipal utilities can also become much more flexible here, depending on how the grids develop in the future: in terms of tariffs, the adjustment of markdown payments, but also in terms of contract terms. “With these new types of small-scale and short-term contracts, reliable credit checks, address validation and fraud prevention systems are becoming increasingly important,” says Fait, “because an incorrect check in advance can lead to an immediate payment default that can no longer be compensated for over a longer contract term.”

 

How does the axytos platform fit into general receivables management and collection?

Those who take care of clean contracts in advance and significantly minimise the probability of default already in the application review process do not have to bother with open invoices and avoidable payment defaults at the other end of the customer financial lifecycle. “Holistic and sustainable receivables management starts with an optimal application review and ends with a customer-centric receivables management,” Michael Fait states.

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