Eneco case study

How Eneco switched to an agile research process and enhanced their customer experience

Eneco is a Dutch energy company specializing in sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, and biomass, and offers energy management solutions and services to help customers reduce their energy consumption. They aim to become carbon neutral by 2035.

Wind turbines in farming field

Meline Markosian and Hayad Ibrahim make up the UX research team at Eneco. “We have something that's called our customer lab where we provide not only user research, but also behavioral research, both qualitative and quantitative, to the entire organization,” shared Meline.

Their scope of work stretches from user research for Eneco, the parent company, as well as its sub-brands such as Woonenergie and the newer brand Oxxio. “We also do research for the small and medium businesses and, as of recently, we're doing research for our Belgium department. So, we run a lot of tests,” she added.

My first introduction to UsabilityHub was in 2019 when I did a growth hacking course at Growth Tribe and part of the course was rapid experimentation.
Meline Markosian
UX Researcher


“The company itself is going through a digital transition because it’s traditionally a marketing organization where the focus relied heavily on selling energy. So how do we brand energy? How do we sell it to the consumer?” shared Meline. “Over the last 10 years, the company has really significantly embraced this green and renewable outlook and we are now looking to help guide people into becoming more sustainable, even climate neutral.”

“Now, with the development of new products, we're trying to look into how we can also incorporate the green and sustainable aspect to help guide our customers into this energy transition,” shared Meline.

This agile and lean UX research team of two took the time to share their experiences with UsabilityHub and how they’re using the platform to solve key business challenges, while enhancing the overall customer experience for Eneco users. 

Challenge

Over the course of their two-year tenure, and while navigating the company’s period of transition, Meline and Hayad have focused on significant strategic initiatives. Their primary goals were to streamline product development cycles and to promote research awareness among the broader team. UsabilityHub was a key tool in achieving this.

“We work with a lot of marketers and they have the perception that when they conduct research, which is often true in marketing agencies, that the lead times are long, the costs are high. You get these elaborate reports that just collect dust after they've been produced,” shared Meline.

“Our aim was to show, first of all, research doesn't have to be expensive or take a long time. It’s readily available and anyone can conduct research if you know how to ask the right questions.

Meline goes on to explain that having access to a research tool that’s cost effective and offers quick results helps to decrease lead times during the product development cycle.  “This ties back to the organization's digital transformation. In order to shift away from being solely a marketing-focused entity into creating digital products that effectively address customer needs, it’s crucial to shorten product development cycles.” 

Hayad adds, “It’s only been around two years since we have implemented this agile way of working, so it's not that long at all."

Another reason why UsabilityHub became cemented into the design process was due to settling internal debates. “Sometimes, discussions and decisions were being made based on who could speak the loudest instead of what our users need,” shared Hayad. 

UsabilityHub is a really great tool to help make decisions based on insights from users.
Hayad Ibrahim
UX Researcher

Solution

Both Meline and Hayad are huge advocates for user research, using UsabilityHub “multiple times a week, sometimes even multiple times a day.” There was a specific example where UsabilityHub provided valuable insights on a rather delicate customer email.

hands holding a central heating unit


“We had to send out emails during the energy crisis on whether people's monthly instalments were going to be lowered, stay the same, or needed to be increased. We ran a variation test across all options and received a lot of feedback,“ shared Meline.

“People said it was too long and that affected their perception of the email. So we ran another cycle which was shorter, and it was received much better.

“Testing was especially needed, as some people were going to receive emails informing them that they were going to have to pay more per month. Figuring out the best way to advise them was important for our customers' experience. 

“As it's a direct contact point to the customer, it can also affect our customer satisfaction scores. By not testing them, we’d just be sending long emails that people could get confused and frustrated by,” continued Meline.

Result

Since implementing this agile way of working, Meline and Hayad have been able to send out a range of tests using different methodologies, and have been able to learn and action the insights received from their user panel.

“The way we use it is very intuitive. Every time something new is introduced or an improvement made, we get very excited because it's always something we really needed," shared Hayad.

In terms of getting the rest of the team on board with the ease and speed of user testing with UsabilityHub, it’s been a success. “The enthusiasm from the different teams and expertise for conducting research has increased. The nice thing is that people who had never even conducted user research or didn't know the tool, they started using it immediately and shared how super fast it was to test through Usability Hub,” shared Meline.

We test everything. We do surveys, we do concepts, we do card sorting, we do the prototype tests, we test flows, we test animations, emails … basically everything.
Meline Markosian
UX Researcher

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