Customers like to use relocation as a reason to change their electricity supplier. This is naturally inconvenient for energy suppliers. Above all, because the acquisition of new customers is more cost-intensive than the care of existing customers.

"64% of households change their electricity provider when they move". Relocation study 2018 - Deutsche Post

In this blog article you will learn 

Who switches electricity providers when moving house?

Over the last ten years, the number of households changing their electricity supplier has increased massively. From 2009 to 2018, the number of households changing their supplier more than doubled and has remained at the same high level ever since. One quarter of these supplier changes are due to relocation.

Statistics with change of energy supplier

When customers change providers during a move, this can have various reasons. In some cases, the previous energy provider does not deliver to the new place of residence. However, according to a population survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, 90% of consumers change their electricity provider because they want a cheaper price for their electricity.


When do consumers switch their electricity supplier? 

According to the relocation study by the German Post Office 

  • 41% of consumers changed their supplier in the four weeks before the move
  • Only 22% of the people took care of it even earlier
  • 37% of consumers looked for their new provider after they had moved


How can you keep your customers in this phase?

Every second respondent in the relocation study stated that moving means stress above all else. This also explains why every third consumer only actively looks for a new provider after the move, and before that he or she uses the generally more expensive basic service. Before the move, many customers are simply too stressed and busy to deal with the search for a new energy provider. 

In such a situation, you can support your customers with uncomplicated and always accessible service offers.


Make it easy for your customers to keep you as a supplier 

Many customers change suppliers to save money. However, freshworks' study "The New Rules of Customer Engagement" showed that 31% of consumers are willing to pay more for better customer service. So you can retain your customers when they change their place of residence by making it as easy as possible for them to take their contract with them.

This means that they always have a contact person with whom they can easily communicate the change of address without having to log into a platform, remember a password or observe the service hours of the customer service department.


Chatbots are particularly well suited for this purpose:

  • They respond to inquiries around the clock in real time.
  • They can be used on several channels simultaneously without much effort.
  • They are wonderfully suited for carrying out processes such as changing an address or transmitting the counter reading.


And they meet consumers' need for self-service solutions:

"76% of consumers globally prefer to first try to solve issues on their own before contacting support."
freshworks, 2019


How does a moving chatbot work?

But how does such a move via chatbot work? Let's play this out using an example:

Lara is a customer of the energy provider Energy Solutions and will soon move to a new city. She is currently packing her boxes for the move. As she does so, the file folder with all the contracts and insurance documents falls into her hands and she remembers that she still has to tell the electricity provider. 

So she reaches into her pocket, takes out her cell phone and opens Whatsapp. There she starts a chat with Tilo, the virtual assistant of Energy Solutions. (Of course you can also implement your chatbot on your website).

Tilo greets her and asks her what he can help her with. Lara taps on the button "I am relocating" and starts the moving process.

Cahtbot welcomes the energy customer

First Tilo tells her what he needs. This way Lara knows which information she has to have ready. In case she is missing information, he asks her for an email address. This way she can stop and resume the process without having to give the bot information that has already been sent to him again.

The bot explains the necessary steps for the move.

Then the virtual assistant asks Lara step by step for her name, her customer number and the date of handing over the apartment.

The chatbot asks the user for the name, customer number, meter number and meter reading

Afterwards Tilo asks Lara for the new address and the meter reading. Lara can enter the counter reading manually or upload it as a photo. When she uploads a photo of the counter reading, the content of the image is analyzed using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software.

The chatbot asks the electricity customer for the new address and the new meter number.

Then he asks for the date of moving in, the meter number and the meter reading in the new apartment. 

The chatbot asks the user to choose a payment method.

With this information, the virtual assistant can transfer the contract from the old apartment to the new apartment.

To complete the process, Lara only needs to specify the payment method and accept the terms and conditions.

Via the customer number Tilo can access the information in Lara's customer account and therefore knows that Lara has been paying the monthly contributions via a SEPA mandate. Therefore he asks her if she would like to continue paying via direct debit. If Lara wants to set up a new SEPA mandate, she can do so without leaving the chat.

Afterwards she only has to accept the general terms and conditions. These can be made available to her as a pdf download or via a link to the website.

The user can accept the terms of use via the chatbot.

With the confirmation of the terms and conditions the process is completed. At this point the chatbot can offer Lara to send her a confirmation by email.


The chatbot confirms the change of address.

Of course it can happen that customers do not have all the information, such as the new meter number and the new meter reading, directly at hand. In such a case, they can contact the chatbot again at a later date and submit the information. 

First the chatbot asks for the email address to identify the user.


The chatbot can use an email address to link to an old conversation for identification.

With the help of this e-mail address, the chatbot can access the information that has already been transmitted. It knows what Lara has already told it and only asks for the information that is still missing.


A chatbot explains what information it needs for the relocation process

In this way you can make it as easy as possible for your customers to take their electricity contract with them to their new home. Of course, the capabilities of such a chatbot are not limited to relocations. Your customers can use it to

  • report the counter reading
  • change their discount
  • find out about your tariffs 
  • change the tariff in a very uncomplicated way
  • or ask general questions about your company. 

Would you like to know what experiences other energy companies have made with the use of chatbots in customer service? Then get our case study with energy provider Süwag and meet Chatbot Karl.