May 4, 2016 / 3:03 PM / in a year

Engie in deal with Accenture to boost customer experience

Isabelle Kocher, new Chief Exective Officer of French gas and power group Engie, attends the group shareholders general meeting in Paris, France, May 3, 2016. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

PARIS (Reuters) - French gas and power group Engie signed a deal with consultants Accenture on Wednesday to develop digital applications for boosting its customer service.

Fjord - Accenture’s design and innovation unit - will develop new applications for billing, electric vehicles, web-linked domestic applications and clients who produce their own power with solar panels. No financial details were given.

“We all live such digital lives, there is no reason why we should not import this into our company,” Engie Chief Executive Officer Isabel Kocher said on the first day in her new job.

Kocher told Engie’s annual shareholders meeting on Tuesday the company plans to invest 1.5 billion euros in new technologies and digitalization in the next three years.

Fjord founder Mark Curtis told Reuters he had no concrete projects yet for Engie, but would look for ways to boost the utility’s relationship with its customers, as Fjord has done for banking and telecommunication companies.

He said that for Spanish bank BBVA and its Turkish unit Garanti Bank, Fjord had developed mobile banking applications, and applications for Swedish telecom companies that show the real-time cost of calling.

“We plan to do the same thing for Engie and turn a transaction - the monthly bill - into a service,” he said.

Engie’s new chief digital officer Yves Le Gelard said Engie and Accenture plan to present the first digital applications in June.

The company’s new marketing tools will be rolled out first in its key markets of France, Belgium and Italy.

In an interview with French daily Le Monde, Kocher - the fist woman to run a company that is part of the Paris bourse CAC40 share index - said that renewable energy and digitalization will be the two main drivers of Engie’s strategy in coming years.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Adrian Croft

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