Crius Energy has become one of the largest independent retail energy provider (REP) organizations in the United States, now serving nearly 900,000 residential and commercial customers, largely as a result of its “family of brands strategy” and Omni-channel marketing approach, which include Comcast Energy Rewards, Viridian Energy, Cincinnati Bell Energy, Public Power, FairPoint Energy, Value Power and Gas, Citra Solar and TriEagle Energy.
Crius Energy has achieved its success in part by introducing and managing, in a unified approach, numerous enrollment websites and web self-service (WSS) customer sites.
In addition, Crius executes new marketing campaigns each month to capitalize on frequent national and state-based regulatory changes, as well as new market entry into deregulated states.
The effectiveness of these campaigns in acquiring, and retaining, customers is highly dependent on providing a seamless, highly intuitive user experience regardless of channel or device, including desktops, kiosks, tablets and phones.
Crius’s previous solution had consisted of a series of highly customized disaggregated sites built and maintained by a large team of developers.
The sites lacked such innate characteristics as responsive design, intuitive user interface, or comprehensive maintenance plans. These sites had become hard to manage, and the user experience was less than satisfactory.
Crius specified an Omni-Channel marketing approach, and the CMS solution needed to support this approach.
Sitefinity was evaluated and chosen as the platform for the solution.
Reasons for this choice included support for Crius’s existing and future technology stack (MS ASP.NET MVC and SQL Server, both on premise and Azure), ability to manage multi-brand sites, in-built responsive design support, support for customized widgets which can be easily deployed across multiple sites, deployments through SiteSync, highly efficient publication workflow, and a rich experience for internal non-IT teams that manage content.
Chateaux created a multi-year strategy to migrate all family of brands websites into the Sitefinity platform.
Chateaux installed and configured Sitefinity within the Microsoft Azure cloud environment, leveraging its PaaS capabilities, and supporting numerous instances within the multi-site license.
Building widgets and templates for WSS
Chateaux developed custom widgets – built using responsive design methodologies and optimized for every major mobile device – to accept enrollments, view and pay bills. The custom widgets are reusable and deployed among and across multiple brands to support web self-service (WSS) websites.
Chateaux helped build the middleware services and transactional layer which was then integrated with Sitefinity websites to perform real-time credit checks with Experian, accept customer bill payments, view usage and billing history.
In addition, Chateaux configured web-based analytics (via Google Analytics) for use in traffic optimization and to improve customer experience, and built OAUTH services to authenticate and provide information for different partner applications.
Enabling Business Users
To support marketing campaign efforts, Chateaux created custom templates, widgets and a new website launch process to reduce the go-to-market time and effort.
Chateaux configured Sitefinity to provide business users with the capability to modify specific areas of a website, such as regulatory terms and brand marketing content, streamlining collaboration across multiple stakeholder groups.
Marketing campaigns are now managed completely by business users through the use of offer codes specific to each website.
Enabling Customer Service Reps and resellers
The Chateaux team built a Customer Management application which is used by Crius Call Center agents and business teams, which includes managing and updating customer information, tracing customer enrollment workflow, accepting enrollments and payments via phone, managing utility information and plan prices.
Chateaux created a Broker Portal which enables brokers to take enrollments via batch and web processes; manage their agents and trace customers during the enrollment process; view customer information; download plans and prices specific to brokers; create customer contracts; and manage the contract workflow.
Analytics and reporting
To support executive analytics and data feeds, Chateaux created a snapshot data warehouse. This data warehouse is used in a wide variety of capacities, including fulfillment (Welcome Letters, Rejection Letters, Customer notifications), partner data feeds, commissions, and executive dashboards comprising Gross / Net sales vs. Goals, Active Accounts, Drops and Usage – all with multiple levels of drilling by commodity, state, channel and many other dimensions.
Over the last few years since we engaged Chateaux, we have been extremely impressed with their capabilities and ability to execute. Chateaux’s team of Architects, Designers and Developers has been completely instrumental to our business and technology success!