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Becoming an e-mobility provider in record time

Within just five weeks, the Celle-based energy supplier SVO has added an e-mobility solution to its range of services. In sales, the company relies entirely on digital channels and uses the cloud solution from epilot, among other things.

The energy industry is in a state of flux. All energy supply companies share the same challenge: margins on commodities are dwindling and there is often a lack of attractive value-added offerings for a target group that is becoming increasingly online-savvy. RUs need to conquer new business areas opened up by increasing digitization, sustainability and cross-sector collaboration. The buzzword of the day is energy services (EDL). These include heat pumps, photovoltaic and heating contracting offers, and e-mobility solutions. Smaller market players also have the opportunity to launch innovative solutions with manageable financial and personnel resources.

At the end of last year, for example, SVO, a company based in Celle, Germany, expanded its business field to include the e-mobility factor within a very short time. It was supported by the consulting firm Excubate and the software-as-a-software provider epilot. There were only five weeks between kick-off and go-live of the project. This was driven by the new management, which wanted to offer its customers an all-in-one service package comprising wallbox, green electricity, installation and subsidies by the start of the KfW subsidies for wallboxes on November 24, 2020.

SVO Managing Director Holger Schwenke was right in predicting that inquiries would skyrocket just in time for the start of the subsidy: Between the end of November 2020 and mid-April 2021, SVO received almost 660 e-mobility inquiries, most of them online. 68 percent of customers create their individual offer completely digitally via the click path offered. The specially set up website recorded up to 1,000 visits a week. 61 percent of existing customers also switched their supply from gray to green electricity in the course of this.

When it comes to generating inquiries, the company relies entirely on digital methods. The customer is made aware of SVO’s e-mobility offering via Google or social media and directed to the appropriate product portfolio on the website. There he can put together his own individual all-round carefree package. First, he configures his desired wallbox from four variants (three of which are eligible for subsidies) as well as the appropriate electricity tariff and is pointed to the corresponding subsidy options including a link to the application. After order confirmation, the installation is carried out by the partner company via SVO – everything from a single source.

The complete inquiry module as well as the automated online click path run via epilot’s cloud solution. Here, the most important questions for a comprehensive offer are clarified in advance: Should the wallbox be installed in a garage or on a parking space? Are they old or new electricity meters? Which tariff is right for me? A broad, standardized service specification for fixed prices was developed for this purpose. This gives customers security and makes it easier for installers to calculate. The processing via the installation companies and the subsequent invoicing also run via the epilot platform. All integrated service providers can thus perform their processing and documentation directly via the cloud software.

To meet the project timeline, the use of agile work practices, strong prioritization, and an 80/20 approach were necessary in terms of effort and result. Thanks to the agile collaboration of those involved, the project was implemented within just five weeks. Delivery problems or bottlenecks at the installation companies were and still are to be circumvented, and process adjustments are being made during the ongoing project.

Attractive business for the future

SVO is proud of the project, as the company has made a name for itself as an innovative e-mobility service provider in a very short time. It has also changed the mindset of the Celle people: Agile project development has shown what can be implemented within a very short time. The successful mix of external and internal know-how as well as the creation of digital sales structures made the project a success.

The general conditions for a further strong increase in business look positive: The political energy turnaround has driven the creation of charging infrastructure for e-mobility. Government subsidies combined with very favorable conditions for consumers do the rest. According to projections, five million more electric cars could be registered in Germany by 2030. This development offers new opportunities for EVU, especially in the complete offer from the first consultation to the finished solution in the garage. Here, they can fully exploit their trust bonus as a well-known, municipal and innovative supplier. This is an approach that benefits small and medium-sized municipal utilities in particular.

Source: Stadt+Werk, special issue June
Authors: Marlon Hütten, Chief Sales Officer e.pilot GmbH;
Toralf Knappe, Key Account Manager Business Customer Sales, SVO Vertrieb GmbH;
Kevin Kahleys, Senior Management Consulting, Excubate GmbH

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