This post is shared by Anastasia Milgramm of our sister-program, the Customer Contact Council.
Customer interest in reducing energy consumption is higher than ever.
In fact, “80% of US households recently [invested] in some form of energy-related improvements for their home,” according to Stuart Sikes, President at international research firm Parks Associates.
Many are also interested in the potential cost savings of energy efficiency. Parks Associates research found that while “80% of customers don’t know the price they are paying for electricity, 62% strongly believe that saving energy and lowering their utility bills are desirable.”
So with national attention focused on the need to reduce energy consumption and budget-conscious consumers paying attention, what role can utilities’ organizations play in engaging consumers in energy management?
Some strategies you might consider:
- Alert customers about their energy consumption. Many customers don’t know or keep track of their energy usage. In fact, customers are likely to call utilities providers when they receive their energy bill if they perceive the bill to be unexpectedly high. Prevent these unnecessary contacts by alerting customers when their energy use exceeds a certain benchmark, even if this happens before the end of a billing period. CEC members, ensure customers are receptive to these alerts by understanding customer values and selecting the appropriate channels.
- Educate customers about energy-saving techniques and products. Teaching customers about energy efficiency will boost engagement and encourage customers to take steps to reduce energy usage. This can also create cross-sell opportunities, as customers opt to buy related products or services offered by utility providers. CEC members, learn how to engage stakeholders on green-related topics.
- Rethink the way you design your billing statements. Customers often don’t know how much they are paying for energy, how much they saved from the previous month, or how much they could be saving. Bill layouts that present this information in a digestible, easy-to-read format will be effective at driving consumer awareness of energy use. Poorly-designed bills might confuse customers, resulting in unnecessary customer contacts. CEC members, find inspiration in clever CSR reports that put the stakeholder at the center of the communication.
- Make it a game. In fall 2011, our CCC colleagues wrote about a technique used by software company OPower. The company partners with utilities to send homeowners a report card that tracks their home energy use and compares it with that of 100 nearby households. This spurs a contest, as neighbors compete for energy efficiency. It also raises awareness, since the report cards inform homeowners if their energy usage is below, at, or above neighborhood average. If it is above average, the card offers tips and tricks on how to reduce consumption.
How do you make your customers aware of energy-saving products and services that you offer?
CEC Related Resources:
- How CEC Supports Your Peers in the Energy and Utilities Industry
- Issues Alert Forum (Progress Energy)
CEC Related Blogs: