City: Chicago, IL
Organization: Effortless Energy - An energy efficiency start-up that helps homeowners finance their home's upgrades by paying for the installation of specific appliances upfront and sharing the energy savings to recoup their investment.
Challenge: We were faced with two challenges: 1) Help Effortless Energy update their existing cost model, and 2) Chart out the process of identifying, maintaining and servicing its customers.
Impact: Over the course of a week, the team submitted two deliverables to Effortless Energy. To help the company understand its costs, we created an activity-based cost model at full employment in five years by identifying the positions and responsibilities required to service customers. We also looked at the expenses associated with these activities in order to provide a basic idea of how much it costs to serve an individual customer. Effortless Energy will now have a model to use in order to easily see how and on what they are spending their money.
For our second deliverable, we identified four main categories that formed the customer service cycle for the company. We did this by creating flowcharts to break down the steps required to complete each part of the process. This workflow will benefit Effortless Energy because it not only allows them to clearly identify and assign resources to each individual step of customer service, but also to easily pinpoint any gaps in the process to correct and maintain the quality of the service they provide.
Chicago is an exciting city with loads to offer in the way of entrepreneurship, entertainment, food and festivities, so it was only natural that we worked with a company that mirrored the same diversity. Just like the city, the company had many moving parts that took us a few days to navigate, understand and then react to. But still, we jumped in with both feet and enjoyed the ride!
We had the pleasure of working directly with Claire Tramm, the CEO of Effortless Energy, and her co-founder Matthew Gee. The two form an industrious pair that are looking to revolutionize the private energy sector in Chicago and beyond. Their passion is palpable and so we were exposed to the vast playing field that makes up the Energy Efficiency landscape. We became versed in the inner workings of the alternative business model they are setting up and the various revenue streams that are available to them due to the unique opportunity they have identified in the market.
We were all impressed by the potential their business proposition has and how they plan to make a difference in energy consumption using their skill and of course the proprietary algorithm they are creating to test the viability of their home upgrades for potential customers.
Effortless Energy is truly a unique business, poised for growth and success, and it was our pleasure to work and learn from them.
This blog post was originally published here on August 8, 2014.