We help utilities and retail energy suppliers develop innovative approaches that set new standards for service quality and customer satisfaction, while optimizing costs and commercial performance.

Market liberalization, intensifying competition, new attackers, rising customer expectations, regulatory changes, and shifts in value pools are disrupting the energy industry and raising the bar for success. In this highly charged environment, we help companies achieve operational and commercial excellence by reengineering their activities to put customers at the core.

What we do

With McKinsey’s support, companies can:

  • Improving service quality and customer satisfaction and cut cost by using digitization and lean operations to provide better, faster service and consistency across channels.
  • Gaining new retail customers by offering tailored products, improving the channel mix, and providing innovative benefits that customers value.
  • Reducing churn in deregulated markets by personalizing touchpoints and combining advanced analytics with customer insight to preempt switching.
  • Realizing additional margin by identifying untapped growth opportunities, optimizing pricing and margins, and offering segment-specific services.
  • Building customer experiences in solar and other distributed-energy resources to add new sources of revenue and meet emerging customer needs.

Examples of our work

Over the past five years, McKinsey has worked with utility-industry leaders on more than 250 customer-related projects globally, including the following:

Executing a Commercial Transformation

We helped a European energy supplier elevate its capabilities, embed new mind-sets and ways of working, and create €500 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization over three years.

Redefining Customer Journeys

We developed a radically new blueprint for one company’s customer payments that reduced customer billing inquiries by 60 percent, enabled digitization of 80 percent of bill-related communication, and improved revenue management.

Defining a Customer-Experience Strategy

We helped a leading US utility define a new customer strategy and rethink core journeys to improve satisfaction and reduce cost to serve.

Redesigning the Outage Journey

Using deep customer insights, cross-industry benchmarking, and design thinking, we worked with a US utility to revolutionize its approach to outage management.

Raising Market Awareness

Working with a leading energy supplier, we helped build a differentiated energy-retailer brand from idea to launch in six months, with a goal of 80 percent market awareness within 18 months.

Designing a Go-to-Market Strategy

For a UK energy supplier, we helped shape a strategy for new energy services, introduce tools to improve sales performance, and identify opportunities worth £20 million.

Featured capabilities

McKinsey combines a deep understanding of utility-industry and energy-retail trends with decades of experience in supporting utilities with operational and commercial challenges. Our expertise spans open, liberalizing, and traditional utility markets. We have more than 100 consultants with experience in energy retail, more than 30 knowledge specialists in electric power and gas, and a global network of experts with marketing and sales expertise.

Our proprietary tools include energy-specific benchmarks and field-tested marketing and sales solutions, including the following:

  • Annual Journey Pulse Survey. Identifies what matters to customers and how to improve customer satisfaction.
  • Energy Retail Customer Experience Benchmarking. A tool that provides utility-specific and cross-industry insights on drivers of customer satisfaction at brand, journey, and touchpoint levels.
  • Commercial Capabilities Assessment tool. A proven instrument for assessing a utility’s baseline capabilities and improvement potential through comparison with cross-industry benchmarks.
  • EPNG (Electric Power & Natural Gas) B2C Cost Benchmarking. Covers cost to serve, cost to acquire, and major cost items for energy retailers.

We constantly develop new platforms and ventures to meet clients’ growing needs for insights, execution, and transformation. We offer tailored services for energy retailers within our specialist units McKinsey Design, McKinsey Capability Building, and RTS.

Related Insights


Transforming customer experience in utilities

– Utility leaders are achieving great customer experiences while driving out costs. Doing so requires customer-experience transformations... around self-service and digital channels.

Transforming interactive voice response systems in utilities

– Utilities are having difficulty implementing customer-centric IVR systems. However, a five-step transformation approach can improve... customer experience and cut call-center costs.

The new way to engage with energy customers: Personalization at scale

– Energy companies struggling with customer churn can borrow lessons from retail and consumer goods to build loyalty and boost sales... through personalization.

Digitizing customer journeys—making a radical but valuable move in EPNG

– With start-ups and new entrants enhancing customer satisfaction through digital solutions, we believe it is time for incumbents... to create seamless digital customer journeys.

The revival of customer loyalty: How regulated utilities can reshape customer engagement

– With customer expectations rising and new technologies emerging, constant renewal of customer transformations can never be over.

Sticker shock: Why utilities now must rethink customer affordability

– As electricity consumers demand more convenience and flexibility, utilities, regulators, and customers themselves will have to... decide which investments to makeā€”and who should pay for them.

Connect with our Electric Power & Natural Gas Practice