9 June 2022 Company News, Metering, Smart Meter Rollout

Building smart metering awareness at our Client Insights Day in Bolton

Collage of SMS staff at client insights day in Bolton
SMS, we consider relationships with customers not as something merely transactional, but as true “partnerships”.

That means we always strive to cultivate dealings with clients that are not just long lasting, but built on a foundation of trust, respect, and a healthy ability to listen and share knowledge with one another. So, when we announced in April 2022 a new metering and data partnership with the Verastar Group – an organisation which provides essential services to small UK businesses – that is exactly the kind of relationship we hoped to nurture.

Client Insights Day

With that fresh in mind, last month (May 2022) we invited the metering and billing operations team from Verastar to our national Training Academy in Bolton, Lancashire, for a specially organised Client Insights Day. The aim of the day was to build awareness of the SMS customer journey amongst Verastar’s team and provide a demonstration of technical assurance around our installation and commissioning process for SMETS2 smart meters.

The tour of the SMS Training Academy, led by our SMETS2 specialists, Sant Singh and Yousef Naveed, showcased: how smart meters are fitted within a customer’s property; what an SMS engineer has to do to set the customer up; insights on back end technical know-how that will help Verastar expand knowledge of smart meters’ role in energy saving and other smart technologies; and how we can support with improving customer billing accuracy and read performance.

Metering Improvement Analyst at Verastar, Mark Newman, said of the visit:

After dealing with smart metering from a distance for so long, it was a real insight to see how SMS operates day-to-day. Sometimes we work in a bubble trying to resolve smart issues remotely, so it was good to talk to people who have vast experience in this area and can offer valuable insights and resolutions first-hand. We hope to build effective working relationships with the Bolton team moving forward, so that we can increase our successful installations and bring any issues to a swift resolution.”

Sant Singh, SMETS2 Product Owner at SMS, added:

“Our Insights Day, hosted especially for our friends and colleagues at Verastar, was enormous fun and was a great success, judging by the really positive feedback we’ve received from those who came along. Our Bolton academy – and the specialist SMETS2 team which is based there – is a fantastic location to showcase our technical capabilities around smart meters and the role they play in enabling efficiencies, savings and innovative new products for consumers and businesses.

“This is something I know that is particularly important to Verastar and the services that they deliver to their own customers, so it was brilliant to be able demonstrate to them our processes and expertise in this area. We look forward to building our close working relationship with Verastar going forward, working with them through our full end-to-end metering solutions, helping them overcome challenges, and delivering the benefits of smart meters to their small business customers across the country.”

Learning Roadshow

The following week, we were delighted to be invited to participate in Verastar’s Operational Q1 update at Lancashire Cricket Ground – an event organised for Verastar employees to highlight the company’s operational performance and provide Learning & Development insights.

SMETS2 Product Owner, Yousef Naveed, and Field Delivery Lead, Christopher Hawkes, were on hand alongside Verastar’s Head of Metering, Gary Hart, to demonstrate SMS’s smart meter customer journey to attendees (over 70 Verastar staff in total). This included the opportunity for attendees to participate in a mock installation, helping Yousef put a smart meter on the wall of SMS’s roadshow kiosk.

The event was a fantastic initiative to be part of, helping extend awareness about the smart metering process amongst non-metering staff, and the how this key business area plays an important role in Verastar’s overall package of services.

Following the event, SMS’s Yousef Naveed said:

“We had a brilliant time supporting Verastar at their employee event, and it was a great honour to be invited to represent SMS. Everyone who attended and who spoke to us was very engaged with plenty of questions and enthusiasm, which was fantastic to see, as smart metering can be a very complex and technical industry to get your head around! Myself and the rest of the SMETS2 product team look forward to continuing the great relationship with Verastar and supporting them throughout their smart journey.”

Head of Metering and Billing Operations, Gary Hart added:

“There’s a real buzz about the place as we truly start on our ‘smart journey’ here at Verastar. The enthusiasm from the whole department to increase their knowledge has been infectious. There is now a real understanding of the customer journey – not only of the installation, but the onward benefits smart metering gives to our customers. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the SMS team for their support in hosting us at Bolton and accommodating us at our Operations Department Off-Site Roadshow, where the wider department got the opportunity to get up close to smart meters and talk to metering technicians”