The energy sector is changing at an unprecedented rate. With rapid changes in technological innovation, governmental and law regulations and corporate social responsibility the need for a more sustainable way of living grows bigger every day. For Essent and Energiedirect.nl that means that energy must become cleaner and smarter.

With this change, customers seek solutions to take control that enables them to use energy more efficiently, save money and emit less carbon. We believe it is the responsibility of energy providers to help their customers gain this control. They can do this by providing them with the right insights and guide them through the decision making process when it comes to saving energy.

Defining a new role

Where an energy provider’s old business model simply focused on providing energy, the energy market of today entails so much more: home automation, smart heating and cooling, self-generated energy and storage, electric mobility, and more. The role of the energy provide is no longer merely “the supplier”, since energy became a modern commodity.

In this modern day society, energy providers help their customers become more aware of their relationship with energy: how does your behaviour affect usage? And what can you do to change your behaviour (if desired)?

Providing customers with the right insights at the right time, helps customers make better choices. A perfect task for an energy provider’s app.

Expressing each brand

The app is one of the primary touchpoints for consumers with their energy provider. From understanding one’s consumption, to preventing bill shock – the customer seeks simple means to accomplish her task. If Essent and Energiedirect.nl are to provide (digital) solutions that help customers gain more control, the app experience is key.

However, the way that experience is expressed is different for each brand. Both brands have their specific target audience and identity, allowing for a different flow, tone-of-voice, look and feel, motion and functionalities.

Essent as a coach

Essent offers the down-to-earth Dutch consumer innovative and simple energy services for their home – that help them to celebrate life. The app guides the customer to complete the goals they’ve set themselves and gives them control over their usage. By using the customer’s data in a secure manner, the app is completely personalised and can offer tailor-made advice. Using PlusJeHuis, a powerful home scanning tool, the app becomes an important touchpoint for full integral advice.

Through a simplified and clear user flow, the app is always easy-to-use, while the clear and positive tone-of-voice always encourages the customer to celebrate life.

Energiedirect.nl as a challenger

As a challenger in the energy market, Energiedirect.nl offers customers high convenience, self-reliance and financial benefit through a full digital experience. Customers are always on the lookout for the best deal in the market. Their app uses data and personalised challenges to help customers take control of their usage, and with that, save on their energy bill. Using micro-interactions and a more light-hearted tone-of-voice, the app is motivational and fun.

A road map for development

Changing course for your product development is not a small feat. From a business perspective, it requires a corporation shift and high digital maturity. On the other hand, customer expectations of a traditionally low-engagement service, need to grow.

As strategic design partner, The Garage created a roadmap for both brands to work towards app experiences. Starting with creating a solid, technical foundation and advising on how to synergise all digital channels. Also, a phased feature release prioritised as such that the coaching experience, requiring higher engagement of the customer, can be introduced aptly.