Simply Energy swapped manual Direct Debit processes for automated direct bank payment collection via GoCardless, to streamline collections, boost cashflow and integrate payments with wider business systems.
business day workflow compressed into one.
customers successfully migrated to GoCardless from their previous Direct Debit provider.
Energy efficient cashflow
Simply Energy serves customers in Australia with low-cost, affordable, sustainable energy – and it aims to do so with minimal hassle.
“Our vision is to become Australia's simplest energy provider,” said Penny Maher, General Manager Marketing and Digital Experience, Simply Energy. “We service around 700,000 customer accounts and we want to make it as simple as possible for them to pay us.”
As part of efforts to simplify the customer payment experience and its own processes, Simply Energy is migrating its operations to a new payments orchestration platform. That’s where GoCardless comes in.
No more back and forth – and back again
“As part of the migration, when we were deciding which way to go with Direct Debit we had an offer from our bank,” explained Jen. “However, the process and the technology was still overnight batch payments via file exchanges, which is very similar to what we had already.”
The GoCardless approach to automation stood out immediately as a step change in the way Simply Energy could harness automation, to make payments more of a value generator for the business and less of a long, slow slog.
“GoCardless delivers instant API interactions where we can send the payment request via our API, receive the payment responses in return via our API, and no longer have to deal with outdated technology,” said Jen. “We've gone from an end-to-end process of creating the Direct Debit request in our billing engine, sending it to the payment provider, having them process it, and then respond back, to almost total automation.”
Compressing seven days into one
This automation has enabled Simply Energy to dramatically compress their Direct Debit workflow.
Additional benefits include lower costs and more predictable payments, which in turn drives improved cashflow and a higher payment success rate.
“Direct bank payments is a low-cost solution, and it provides predictable revenue,” said Jen. “From a customer perspective, we can bill the customer on the date they're expecting to be billed so it’s easier for them to ensure they have the money in their account.”
Jen is also delighted that GoCardless has solved Simply Energy’s persistent challenges around reporting and reconciliations. “Part of the mandate of this project was to get better data and reporting in place,” she said.
The additional insights have helped deliver unexpected benefits, explains Jennifer: “One of the exciting things we weren’t expecting is that it's helping us to track potential revenue leakage, so that we can identify and close those gaps.”
Simply Energy now also understands more about how failed payments are impacting its cash flow — and what to do about it.
“We have better visibility on our declined direct debits so we're having that conversation with GoCardless around Success+, which has got the intelligence to be able to learn over time through AI when a payment request is more likely to be successful,” said Jen.
A seamless migration
The data migration to GoCardless involved transferring over 300,000 tokens from Simply Energy’s previous Direct Debit provider. This could have been a high risk part of the project without the help of the GoCardless team.
“The business was obviously very nervous about it because if we didn't successfully migrate these customers, their Direct Debit would no longer exist and we’d need to ask them to set it up again,” said Jen. “The GoCardless team were amazing, holding our hand and explaining the whole process. We did the migration over the course of a weekend and they were there every step of the way to make sure we were successful.”
Preparing for PayTo
GoCardless’s dedication to new payment innovations also caught Jen’s eye, and she’s eager to go live with PayTo as soon as possible.
“GoCardless doesn’t just look at the technology that's available today – they’re out at the forefront of what's coming up,” she said. “We’re super excited to get PayTo rolled out. It will give customers a lot more control that will, ultimately, make more customers even more comfortable paying by Direct Debit.”
Ready for sustainable growth
Simply Energy is backed by Engie, one of the world's largest renewable energy power producers, which has made a global commitment to reach net zero by 2045. And green credentials are really important to everyone at Simply Energy.
“We are a business that is willing to try a range of different things and push the boundaries. We also know that consumers are expecting not only governments but also energy retailers and generators to play a more prominent role in the transition to net zero,” said Penny.
“It’s something that each of us is really proud of and we like to partner with companies that are also working towards their own sustainability goals within their own industry,” added Jen. “The way GoCardless has made our payments more efficient also means that we can spend more time working on these things that really matter to us.”
With the GoCardless aspect of the payment transformation project now in production, the partnership is evolving towards helping Simply Energy build the best business it can.
“We're an energy retailer – payments is not our area of expertise,” said Jen. “Now that we’re live, GoCardless is working with us on different ways to encourage more customers to use direct bank payments. A recent campaign saw 40% of the customers that responded choose Direct Debit, and I think that comes from the younger generations wanting to set and forget, and not worry about remembering to pay their bills. More successes like this will reduce our costs, make the business more efficient and increase convenience for more of our customers.”