Utility Consultants is a consultancy specialising in energy and infrastructure, founded by Phil Caffyn in 1998. They provide professional services to 30 power utilities across New Zealand and Australia, including gas, water, drainage, rail and airport projects. Services that they provide include: strategy, finance, marketing, operations and regulatory compliance.

Phone Plus services:

  • customer surveys and market research
  • data processing and management
  • real-time performance reporting

When Utility Consultants were first asked to perform a survey of several hundred customers, they realised that the project was beyond their own capacity and that they needed a partner to deliver on the contract.

Phone Plus came to mind, because they are part of the Top Energy Group, a group of companies in the electricity network distribution and generation business. They already had profile in the industry that Utility Networks would be researching and had a good understanding of the broader survey context.

“There is considerable sensitivity around the confidentiality of customer databases,” says Phil Caffyn, Managing Director of Utility Consultants. “The transfer of information at the commencement and conclusion of calling needs to be complete and secure.”

The raw data in spreadsheet form provided by Utility Consultants is configured by Phone Plus into a specialised database for calling. This work includes: indexing, the addition of a table of potential call outcomes, coding and data validation.

Phone Plus interviewers follow the training and guidelines they have been provided, which requires them to follow the questionnaire and not lead a person toward any particular answer.

Each survey is given a fixed time-frame for completion, minimising the risk of an event occurring part-way through a survey that would affect the response. Such events might include an electrical storm cutting power in the week that research is being carried out for an electricity lines company in the same region.

Phone Plus completes the phone calls, then analyses and reports outcomes to meet an agreed timeline.

Phone Plus maintains high standards in the delivery of the research survey, the control of the data and the compilation of results so that the business data is reliable and accurate.

Utility Consultants and Phone Plus have a long-term relationship and have carried out more than 10 different campaigns on behalf of several New Zealand electricity lines businesses, to perform customer surveys.

The research is used by these large public and private sector companies to guide decision-making about the levels of investment in their infrastructural assets.

Phil says that he is very happy with their performance. He says that they maintain a high level of communication with him and he is impressed with their prompt delivery and high quality of results.

Phil has also received good feedback from his electricity lines company clients about Phone Plus’s performance.

“I would be happy to recommend Phone Plus to other clients,” says Phil. “And as opportunities arise, I will happily work with Phone Plus again.”


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