Customer advocacy drives new free energy switch service from new Aussie bank

86 400 is using technology to scan 200 data points on electricity bills in order to help improve customer insight on their own utility bills

86 400 is using technology to scan 200 data points on electricity bills to offer customers a better deal.

The challenger bank is Australia’s first smartbank, purpose-built for smartphones. In the course of the consumer research it undertook before launching last year, the company found consumers wanted the bank to help them save meaningful amounts of money.

As a result, next month it will launch Energy Switch, a free, first-of-its-kind service for a bank to enable customers to find a better electricity deal and switch in just a few taps.

When it launches next month, 86 400 claims its Energy Switch service will make the smartbank the first financial institution in Australia to independently assess its customers’ current electricity spend. It will not take any commission from customer switches, with the service based on providing a better deal for the customer and nothing else. It will be the smartbank’s fourth product since launching to the general public in September 2019.  

86 400 chief product and marketing officer, Travis Tyler, said the initiative comes does to its core purpose, which is to help Australians take control of their money. 

“As we were going through the research of building the bank, what people were telling us was: We want our bank to help us with other ways to save money, meaningful amounts of money,” he told CMO

“So we looked at what other meaningful expenses that most Australians have. About 8 million electricity bills are paid every quarter in Australia. It's a big, big problem around rising costs of electricity. And we thought there's a way, particularly using the data and the smarts that we have, we can actually help customers save money on regular large bills. The average of our testing so far is $400 a year in savings.”

86 400 did a lot of research before its launch in order to become a meaningful challenger in the bank space and challenge the big four directly. This research is now being parlayed into new marketing and products.

“To be a meaningful challenger, we needed to drive high levels of advocacy. We’ve got two core measures in our business: Driving satisfaction and advocacy. We needed to look at new ways that we can genuinely satisfy our customers and give them moments of delight,” Tyler said.

“We use a platform called Ask Nicely; it's a platform that's purely been built for customer advocacy and management and we do a lot of analysis within that."

Energy Switch will first be delivered to customers through the app. "It comes back to the actual purpose of helping and trying to help people to take control and demonstrating actually doing that. Customers have told us: Don't tell us what you're doing, show us what you're doing," Tyler continued.

“We have a really broad range of customers. Our initial target was 25 to 45 because we were aiming for pivotal life events where you need bank help. But what we've seen is our youngest customer is 16, and our eldest customers pushing 90 and we have a broad appeal."

Yet about 65 per cent sit within its target segment, 20 per cent either side of that, then a reasonably long tail, Tyler said.

To celebrate its launch, 86 400 did a national marketing campaign focusing on out of home and digital channels.

“It was incredibly effective, particularly the outdoor play in the outdoor rail transit locations," Tyler claimed. "It achieved that level of awareness, and it has built a level of trust. We've been really surprised with the take up, and also people have already saved over $100 million with us. We hit that milestone on 3 January. 

Word of mouth is also a strong channel for 86 400, and one Tyler said it'll be growing into the future. "It plays back into that level of advocacy where people want to tell their friends about it," he said.

“From a marketing perspective, obviously we just launched our campaign and we're in the process of planning what the remainder of the year looks like. We're continuing to be very focused on our digital channels, which are performing really well for us. And we do a lot of PR, and advocacy-driven activities are a really big focus for us.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia. 

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