How Octopus Energy uses Twilio to unleash Kraken at scale

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Energy is an essential resource, powering homes, businesses, and vehicles, and bringing comfort and convenience that underpin modern life. Yet consumers have long experienced frustrations with their utility companies, finding it difficult to contact them, obtain information, or get important updates on issues that may affect their lives, such as outages or planned maintenance. 

For customer service agents inside utilities, their desire to help customers is often thwarted by legacy technologies that are difficult to use. When issues arise, they aren’t always able to notify customers in advance. Those in meter management and finance face obstacles in gathering accurate data on energy use, which often results in a pileup at the end of billing periods that causes the customer service agents to be overwhelmed and burnout. Some end up leaving the industry entirely in search of more fulfilling work.

Over time, these negative experiences can lead to a sense of frustration and mistrust between energy companies, their employees, and their customers—not an ideal dynamic for anyone involved.

But building modern digital solutions that address the unique needs of the Energy Tech (EnTech) sector is no simple matter. Kraken should know; as they built their own operating system to disrupt utility operations to better deliver excellent customer experiences and develop innovative products.

A solution centered on the customer

Octopus Energy Group launched in the UK in 2016 with a vision of using technology and data to bring affordable green energy to the world. At the same time, it wanted to put customers at the heart of its efforts. Early on, the company implemented Twilio Voice into the Kraken platform as the foundation for its customer communications, believing that a traditional phone system would not be able to handle the volume of calls it would eventually receive.

“Twilio was really quick to integrate with, which was important to us as we were a startup that needed to deal with growing customer demand and planned to eventually scale to millions of customers,” recalls Hayden Field, Senior Software Engineer at Kraken. 

Fielding customer calls wasn’t the only thing Kraken needed Twilio for. Many UK-based energy companies rely on meter readings where customers call in with data on a specific day, leading to a massive spike in call volume that quickly overwhelms traditional systems. This in turn impacts billing teams, creating stressful and chaotic workdays.

With Twilio, the company was able to seamlessly handle an influx of calls without any hiccups—making for a calmer, more efficient process. It used other Twilio solutions, including SendGrid Email and SMS, to send customer communications about service, billing, and more—including alerts and notifications about issues that might impact them. With SendGrid, it also obtained a cohesive platform for email marketing. 

Octopus Energy acts as a showcase for Kraken, an all-in-one smart operating system designed to help energy companies solve customer problems, provide relevant information on the right channel at the right time, and facilitate marketing communications via SMS and Email to help energy businesses grow. Leveraging Twilio technology, Kraken has enabled the users of their operating system to set the standard across the entire utility sector for outrageously good customer service.


“In the UK there is this thing called Meter Reading Day, where you submit readings so you get accurately charged. This suddenly creates a peak of about 20 times as many calls as on a regularly busy day. With Twilio, we were able to have confidence that every call would connect, work, collect data, and be completely stable. ”

Hayden Field Senior Software Engineer, Kraken

From energy provider to energy enabler

In just 7 years, Octopus Energy has made tremendous strides toward its vision of using Kraken’s technology and data to bring affordable green energy to the world. It powers over 5 million homes and businesses in the UK alone, and has expanded its global footprint to include the US, Germany, Japan and Spain—and more.

But the company isn’t just changing the energy sector; with Kraken, it is also empowering other utilities to operate more efficiently and effectively, while delivering excellent customer experiences. Kraken’s operating system currently has 54 million contracted accounts in 17 countries, and is rapidly expanding into more. 

“Twilio already has a global network, so when we expand into new territory, we can focus on how we want to integrate into the energy market,” says Hayden. “It takes like 2 hours to set up a new Twilio account. From an operational point of view, that's absolutely ideal.”  

The average consumer phones their utility company once a year, and Kraken now handles as many calls in a single day as it did in its entire first 18 months in business.  On average, the platform uses Twilio to send about 1M emails and 100,000 SMS messages—every single day. These communications span the range of billing emails, marketing emails, SMS marketing, and other types of notifications and alerts. 

Given the nature of the energy industry, and how it is affected by weather and climate events, message volume can vary significantly. Some days Kraken handles 200,000 emails; other days, it handles over 5 million. Twilio is able to handle these peaks and valleys with ease, scaling up and down as demand shifts, and ensuring optimal deliverability.

Kraken’s offering continues to evolve, allowing clients like Octopus Energy, EDF and Eon Next the ability to grow their business while managing energy, water, or broadband with a single intuitive operating system perfect for their customer base.

“Octopus Energy set out to put customers at the heart of everything and find innovative ways to combat climate change. Ultimately, Twilio helps us do that, whether through telephony, SMS, or responding to emails. ”

Chloe Biddle Senior Client Delivery Lead, Kraken

Tailoring experiences for specific needs

Energy patterns and usage varies across countries and regions—yet everyone needs utilities. From the start, Kraken designed its operating system to accommodate a range of preferences and options so that its clients can tailor experiences to the needs of their customers.

Kraken’s unique operating model for customer support differs from the traditional functional silos that require customers to be transferred to various departments, where they often wait on hold while internal teams try to understand or fix an issue. Krakens’ Universal Agents have the skills and capabilities to solve any customer problem through any channel—so the first person who answers a customer’s call, SMS or email can provide service.

Using Twilio technology, Kraken automatically assigns customer calls to the correct team based on a recognized account phone number. The calls take place in the Kraken UI, and deliver all the most important information directly to the agent. Recordings are saved directly to the customer’s account with playback functionality, transcripts, and an AI-generated summary. 

This model also gives teams a high level of autonomy for serving customers, empowering agents to resolve complex problems together. Instead of micromanaging teams to follow outdated processes, team leaders can focus on motivating agents and growing the business.

Kraken’s commitment to serving the customer extends to billing, understanding that both energy companies and their customers need choices in how they make and process payments. Using Twilio Pay, Kraken processes thousands of secure phone payments every day. It supports both out-of-the-box and generic connectors, which adds up to tens of millions in annual revenue—all routed through the customer’s preferred mechanism and client's preferred payment provider.

When Kraken customers need specific functionality not offered on the core platform, Twilio provides the flexibility Kraken customers need to to help differentiate themselves from other legacy energy suppliers. “Twilio Studio provides the self-service capabilities Kraken can use to quickly and simply customize services for different clients. It's just really easy to build,” says Chloe Biddle, Senior Client Delivery Lead at Kraken.

Powering better experiences with every interaction

Today, Kraken is making the energy industry better in two significant ways—by introducing more sustainable energy solutions, and by enabling other energy companies to manage, optimize, grow, and serve customers better through technology.

Its evolution continues as it works to incorporate AI capabilities into its platforms to accelerate customer email responses and provide even faster, more efficient service. Yet, in keeping with its core customer focus, Kraken is taking a measured approach. 

“We’re bringing in AI technology, but it’s very important to us to retain a human touch. We want to keep everything as human as possible, rather than just building a chatbot for the sake of it,” Hayden explains.

With Twilio as a partner, Kraken can continue to grow into a highly responsive, reliable, and results-oriented operating system that meets the customer experience needs of utility companies globally.

“We’re bringing in AI technology, but it’s very important to us to retain a human touch. We want to keep everything as human as possible, rather than just building a chatbot for the sake of it.”

Hayden Field Senior Software Engineer, Kraken

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