Adani Gas Limited has a wide customer base, with nearly 150,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) customers and 190,000 piped natural gas (PNG) customers. The company currently operates in Ahmedabad and Vadodara in Gujarat, Faridabad in Haryana, and Khurja in Uttar Pradesh. It sources gas from GSPC Gas for its Vadodara and Ahmedabad operations and from GAIL for its Faridabad operations. City gas distribution (CGD) operations in Faridabad are at a nascent stage at present and are expected to pick up in the coming years. Adani Gas also plans to source regasified liquefied natural gas (R-LNG) from Petronet LNG Limited (PLL) for its Vadodara and Ahmedabad operations. Most of Adani Gas’s consumers are domestic, and less than 1 per cent of the total customer base comprises industrial and commercial users. In all, it serves 850 industrial consumers and 1,300 commercial consumers (all in Ahmedabad). It has a gas distribution network in excess of 410 km of steel pipelines, a polyethylene (PE) network of approximately 4,100 km, and 63 CNG stations in Ahmedabad and Vadodara in Gujarat, and Faridabad in Haryana, as of March 2013.
The company has implemented a robust customer relationship management (CRM) strategy to develop, maintain and improve customer interface. The objectives of the CRM strategy are to acquire, retain and serve customers; gain customer insights; reduce client servicing costs; and augment revenue sources. CRM helps in centralising and sharing data, developing an objective and precise marketing strategy, and increasing profit levels.
The key components of the CRM strategy adopted by Adani Gas include:
- Easy payment facilities: Adani has offered various easy payment options to its customers.
- Mobile payment: Customers have the option of paying bills via their mobile handsets. This can be done by downloading the mobile application of Adani’s transaction processing partner, Atom Technologies Limited. This convenient payment option can be used following a one-time registration process. The company also provides an SMS facility under which information on bills, payment details and meter readings can be sent to customers on their mobile phones, depending on the kind of request made.
- Electronic clearing service: As a part of this service, customers can issue instructions on their credit cards or bank accounts for the clearance of bills. This does away with the need to remember due dates for bills or cheque payments.
- Online payments: Under this, customers can choose a bill desk payment gateway for credit cards, debit cards, net banking, or the Atom payment gateway for net banking.
- Cash collection centres: With this facility, customers can make payments at all IDBI Bank branches in Ahmedabad. Payments can also be made via cheques at these branches.
- Drop box location: The company has provided drop boxes at its Usmanpura, Memnagar and Maninagar offices as well as at bank branches or ATMs of banks like Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and Kotak Mahindra. Customers can search for the location of these drop boxes on the company website.
- E-invoices: In an effort to reduce the usage of paper, Adani Gas has introduced the e-invoice service under which bills are sent to customers via email. Customers can either download the application or apply for this facility online.
- Locating CNG stations and gauging PNG coverage: Consumers can locate the firm’s CNG stations in a particular area in a city through this facility. They can also check the availability of a PNG network in a specific area or city.
- Meter reading submissions: Adani Gas has started providing its customers a facility to submit their meter readings online with the aim of improving the transparency and efficiency of the billing system. Customers are required to provide their IDs and registered mobile numbers for availing of this facility.
- Other facilities: In addition to the above facilities, the company’s website provides information on the latest schedule of charges as well as the application procedure for a new domestic gas connection. Bill details are also generated on the firm’s portal.
The company’s long-term plans include bidding for operations in 80 to 100 cities. Assuming a success rate of 40 per cent, Adani Gas expects to have its CGD network spread over at least 40 cities over the next 8-10 years. It aims to lay an additional 80 to 100 km of steel pipelines and 400 km to 450 km of PE pipelines and construct 8-10 CNG stations in each of these cities. With its widening customer base, the installation of a robust CRM system becomes all the more necessary.
CGD is a customer-oriented segment and ensuring customer satisfaction via efficient service delivery is crucial. Having realised its importance, gas utilities in the country are increasingly implementing CRM systems to improve customer satisfaction and reduce the cost of servicing clients.