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New ‘one stop shop’ app puts customer welfare first

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A new app, developed by Cadent and Frazer-Nash Consultancy, will help to support customers in vulnerable situations.

  • New customer app puts essential safeguarding data at engineers’ fingertips
  • App developed by Cadent and Frazer-Nash Consultancy will help to support customers in vulnerable situations
  • Second phase of project from April 2021 will allow delivery of safety items direct to customers’ homes

Cadent and Frazer-Nash, with support from the Energy Innovation Centre (EIC), have developed an innovative new ‘welfare decision tool’ app for emergency engineers. The tool allows engineers to tailor welfare products and services for customers who might find themselves in a vulnerable situation.

During day-to-day operations, Cadent engineers often encounter customers who could benefit from additional welfare support – especially those on the Priority Services Register (PSR). Cadent recognised the need to make it easy for engineers to get the right support quickly, easily and on a repeatable basis.

The PSR is used by energy suppliers and network operators to keep records – with customers’ prior consent – of households where customers could benefit from additional welfare support if they were without gas for any length of time.

Customers on the PSR may have additional requirements for support including serious health conditions, physical impairments, living with young children, being of pensionable age, requiring additional communication support or a variety of other potential vulnerable situations.

Cadent worked closely with the teams at Frazer–Nash and the EIC to identify and develop a solution to this problem. As a result, a new mobile app was created, which puts all the data held within the PSR at an engineer’s fingertips. This enables faster and more consistent decision making on which products and services can best support a customer in a given situation. The decision tool also considers key external data, such as weather forecasts, individual customer needs and how long the customer is likely to be without gas.

Megan Smith, Senior Engineer and Project Manager at Frazer-Nash, explained:

“We worked closely with Cadent to develop a tool that meets the needs of both their frontline engineers and their Customer Safeguarding Team. The result was an easy-to-use mobile app that provides data-driven welfare recommendations to Cadent’s engineers at their fingertips while out and about. We also built a desktop portal that allows Cadent’s central Customer Safeguarding Team to follow real time data and identify potential improvements to the platform over time.”

Customer Safeguarding Manager, Jo Giles added:

“This has been a huge effort by colleagues in so many teams across Cadent, Frazer-Nash and EIC to bring this to life. I’d like to pass on a special thanks to our West Midlands-based operations colleagues for their support trialling the technology. Our work in this area is a key part of our future plans and I’m really excited to see where it takes us.”

Anthony Reid, Innovation Engineer at the EIC, said:

“It is really encouraging to see the networks actively seeking innovative solutions to safeguard people in the most vulnerable situations in society. It was fantastic to see the final product come together, as a result of the hard work and creative approaches demonstrated by the project teams. I’m excited to see how this tool can improve the support that energy networks are able to offer their customers.”

Cadent is now planning to build on the technology, meaning that in the future not only will the app help engineers identify the best safeguarding provisions, but arrange for delivery of products such as heaters and locking cooker valves direct to customers’ property. This second phase will start development from early April onwards.

Cadent Head of Customer Experience, Mike Lapper commented:

“The development of this fantastic app is another step towards transforming our customer offering. It enables our engineers to provide advice and expertise at their fingertips, specific to the needs of the customer in front of them at the doorstep. We are now working to enhance this technology and incorporate it into our standard processes, so it can benefit us now and long into the future.”