So the government is introducing a plan to force energy companies to simplify their tariffs. Whilst I'm not supporting the government meddling with an industry which it is responsible for privatising, I do support the notion of ensuring simpler services/products for customers. In fact I would like to see something like this sweep across the Financial Services sector. Sadly I've seen lot's of examples of products being created which are fit for a company's structure or commercially beneficial, but ultimately a nightmare for customers to understand. All the research I've seen in the past few years shows how little tolerance customers have for investigating the benefits and limitations of services. More often than not this leads to mis-selling and disgruntled customers, when they realise what they've actually bought. It seems that if you want customers to care at all about your brand, they have to understand what it offers, they have to feel in control of their purchase. Jony Ive often talks about the need for feeling as though we dominate our products.
At the moment the coverage of the energy tariff initiative is focusing on what this will do to energy prices, but I'm very eager to see how each provider adapts its products to ensure clarity through the e-commerce process. Hopefully this will bring us to a more customer centric approach to service design and open doors for user-centred designers saving the day.