Communication with customers

Iren Group considers priority communication related to its development plans, products and services, aiming to provide timely and transparent information through several channels.

Also in 2021, there was a growth in followers on the Group’s social channels and visitors to its websites, and product communication campaigns continued. To support the commercial action beyond the legacy regions, an important communication campaign was undertaken to position Iren luce gas e servizi as a national brand, through multi-subject television commercials on all the major national broadcasters. TV campaigns were flanked by local press campaigns, billboards and posters, dedicated to products and offers. In November, in particular, an important poster campaign in the legacy regions was dedicated to the Fisso&Basso (Fixed & Low) electricity offer reserved for customers coming from protected market. In addition, releases have been scheduled in the most important local newspapers with advertising pages. Investments in digitalization have made it possible to promote and support bundled offerings – Più Green, Più Vantaggi, più Regali e più Smart (Greener, More Benefits, More Gifts and Smarter) – across a wider territory. A press campaign launched in legacy regions communicated the commitment to convert all household supplies to 100% green energy supplies at no additional cost.

In its relations with local and national media, the Group dedicated ample space to the topics of renewable energies, decarbonization, circular economy and related plant development, also with the aim of giving greater visibility to the investments and objectives of the Business Plan.

As a continuation of the restyling and rebranding activity launched in 2020, the activity of fitting out new stores and retail spaces in the territories (Sarzana, Turin, Grugliasco, Modena, Parma and Reggio Emilia) or the complete renovation of existing ones (Piacenza and Ponte Taro) was intensified. In the new exhibition areas, great space has been given to communication in digital format, with the aim of transmitting content more effectively and focusing attention on environmental issues. In addition to the opening of new stores, the Group continued to set up corners in shopping centres and new display areas focused on selling e-mobility and energy efficiency products.

Single toll-free number for commercial services: in the first half of 2021, there was an increase in incoming telephone traffic, consistent with 2020. In the second half of the year, contact volume began to decline back to pre-pandemic levels. Although the number of calls increased by 17% (3,165,349 customers spoke to an operator), the performance respected the targets required by ARERA, with an answer rate of 95.3% on incoming calls, with an average waiting time of 40 seconds.

Results that also depend on projects to improve the functionality of the telephone service in order to reduce waiting times: the systematic adoption of call back, which allows the customer to book a call from the call centre operator when the telephone line is busy, and the integration, in the reserved web area, of the virtual assistant, an automatic artificial intelligence channel able to understand the most common questions of the customer.

Waste management services customer care: the service provides information on waste collection and management services. All incoming contacts – telephone, e-mail and web – are tracked on a specific management system that allows subsequent calculation and statistical processing. Reports and requests are automatically transferred to the local waste management services. In 2021, the Group carried out a significant customer care activity aimed at increasing the value of the relationship with the customer and creating direct communication, with the objective of planning actions aimed at specific customer groups and communications modulated according to needs. There were 634,063 calls managed (+10% from 2020) and 124,059 were e-mail and web contacts (+22% from 2020).

The significant growth in contacts highlights the importance of customer care dedicated to waste management services in guiding citizens towards sorted waste collection, in gathering their requests and reports and in responding quickly and with effective solutions, accompanying them even in difficult times such as the last two years, marked by the pandemic emergency. Despite the increase in incoming calls, 83.2% of customers who contacted the service by phone spoke to an operator, with an average wait time of 54 seconds, in line with the 2020 figure.

Integrated customer relationship management (CRM) system: the new CRM system is integrated with many communication channels, allows all information relating to each customer interaction to be collected, recorded and managed. Provides for the sending of proactive multi-channel communications (e-mail, SMS, mail) that allow customers to receive notifications regarding their supplies and updates on the progress of their practices or requests, on an ongoing basis, until they are resolved.

Also introduced in 2021 is the possibility for customers to report receiving suspicious calls and/or visits from staff dedicated to promoting commercial products/ services, in order to verify the reliability of the proposals received. The service, which has handled 1,270 reports, is available by e-mail, dedicated call centre, IrenYou App and form available on the website

Counters, Iren space for customers: in 2021, the number of contacts at the counters increased, generated by the progressive improvement of the pandemic situation. The Group managed 541,513 customers (+40.3% compared to 386,090 in 2020) in the 92 physical points located throughout the territory

Despite the critical nature of the period, the counters maintained the objective of continuous improvement in service quality and customer loyalty, together with the promotion and sale of services and products. The counter has consequently evolved into a place for advice, capitalising on the role of the human figure as a vehicle for trust, support and specialised experience.

The network of Iren Spaces is growing: 92 physical points for managing requests and providing professional advice to customers

In 2021, the number of counters increased – adding four counters managed in the province of Avellino by the company Sidiren and six new counters opened in Emilia-Romagna, Piedmont and Liguria – and there was an improvement in average waiting time, to which the scheduling of appointments through the UFirst App contributed, alongside management through the queue management systems already in place.

Counters activities 2021 20201 2019
Counters (no.) 92 82 68
Customers served (no.) 541,513 386,090 607,469
Average waiting time (min.) 5.3 5.5 12.0

1 The figures are affected by the closure of the counters for two months due to the Covid-19 emergency and the reopening with access by appointment only.

Direct contact channels: interaction with condominium administrators and Consumers’ Associations continued thanks to a direct channel, via a dedicated e-mail address, which handled around 1,100 requests (+120% compared to 2020). The Group also continued to promote meeting sessions, mainly with Consumers’ Associations, to discuss issues of particular importance such as promotional activities, compliance with the Code of Business Conduct or free market contracting methods, the new tariff adjustment for the water sector (TICSI), the interpretation of the various hidden leak regulations and the new resolution on arrears.

Websites: in order to make the website more and more usable, the menus and contents have been revised, to simplify navigation and offer the customer more information in a clear and organised manner. The live chat has been optimised, introducing a robot equipped with artificial intelligence, to offer assistance in searching for information or in the path to purchase services and products. In order to achieve greater visibility on the internet, with a good ranking in the major search engines, all pages of the site have been optimised. In 2021, the website obtained the A+ Energy Efficient Website rating, issued by Karma Metrix, a project that aims to measure the environmental impact of websites and increase their energy efficiency. In addition, on the website there is a guide that makes the electricity and gas bills clearer and more understandable for the customer, analysing in a simple way the single items.

Social networks: social channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) are to all intents and purposes active and standard channels for customers, with constant monitoring of public comments and private messaging. Through these channels, the customer can make caring requests similar to commercial toll-free numbers, as well as obtain business information. The Group, thanks to a friendly and more informal approach, uses social channels to spread messages about the world of energy, services, regulations and environmental sustainability. The language used is simple, and quizzes or gamification modules are presented to encourage interaction with customers. Moreover, on the social channels, the Group tells its story more directly, through videos and photographs, and responds to customers through quick and easy interaction.

Mobile apps: IrenYou, accessible from smartphone or web, is the app that allows customers to directly manage the supply of electricity, gas, water, district heating and waste. Customers can download the bill online, check their consumption, communicate their meter reading and be informed about the Group’s initiatives. Through IrenYou, improved in 2021, it is possible to use the IrenPay channel or credit card to pay bills through a bank account. In order to increase the attractiveness of IrenPay, a contest has been launched, aimed at customers, with a prize system through the Instant Win game. The digital campaign implemented in 2021 to support the dematerialisation of the paper bill incentivised the download of the IrenYou app. To this end, digital information initiatives continued, using video tutorials sent to customers, uploaded onto the Group’s website and YouTube channel and projected onto monitors at local counters. There were 852,078 customers registered on IrenYou at the end of the year, up 86% from 2020.

EcoIren is the app that provides useful information on waste management services and on Acquapubblica (Public water) distributors in the area; the app features a photo-signalling system through which photos of abandoned waste, damaged bins and other anomalous situations can be taken and sent to Iren Group, accompanied by text and geographical coordinates. platform: this is a tool that was created within the context of the Iren Local Committees (see page 104), to establish an innovative channel of dialogue, discussion and participatory planning between Iren Group and the local community stakeholders. The platform collects project ideas to support and initiate environmental and social sustainability actions.