Liander is one of the three players responsible for the energy infrastructure in the Netherlands. They make sure people can turn on their lights and keep their houses warm. One of their objectives is to connect three million households to the smart grid in the next three years. This impressive job – over 15000 replacements every week – requires a lot of customer interaction, planning, willingness and cooperation. But the process is tough and efficiency in planning and execution is low. Consumers are skeptical and worry about their privacy when allowing Liander to connect their house to the smart grid. On top of that, Liander received some negative publicity for their technology being vulnerable for hacks resulting in even more resistance in the process. Since we already designed their digital customer interaction strategy earlier in 2017, Liander turned to us for advice on how to increase their planning and replacement rate using a different communication strategy. 



1. Insight

Our trendscan showed that a big part of the issue came down to the lack of trust between the consumer and the ‘unknown’ brand Liander. More specific it gave us the insight that Liander merely leaned on rational competency to enforce trust, and was hardly using elements of benevolence to gain trust. 

2. strategy

Benevolence can be gained by connecting on a more emotional level. For brands this means in general that they can use their heritage (authenticity), purpose or their human ‘face’. In the case of Liander we came up with a two-fold communication strategy to improve the replacement proces. 1. Show Liander’s 100+ year heritage as a proof-point for being a trustworthy partner.
2. Humanize the customer touchpoint and interactions. Instead of using jargon and difficult language we decided to use more human and accessible means of communication. That is, language that reflects a human character; being honest and transparant, showing values.

3. Implementation

We guided the application of this strategy into a wide variety of means of communication (outdoor communication, direct mailings and online content). After proven successful in a pilot setting Liander rolled it out on a regional level. The results were stunning. Our approach enabled Liander – with a relative short and low cost intervention – to increase the number of installations per day by 25% and the efficiency in the process by 7%.