It goes without saying that the way to communicate with consumers is the way they communicate with each other.
Text messages, alerts, apps and social media are all being used by business to provide information and offers. But many utilities are still playing catch up on digital communication offerings – and missing out on the benefits to be gained in customer satisfaction.
A J.D. Power study revealed that for digital proficiency, the utility industry scores 571 on a 1,000-point scale. In contrast, the retail sectors scores 771. Why does this matter? Take one example of access to power outage information. J.D. Power found that making access to this information easier for the consumer consistently results in higher customer satisfaction scores.
Research conducted by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative indicates that 50 percent of utility customers would engage with pricing plans, thermostat offers and other programs if they receive messages that motivate them. In the future, utilities will need to earn the right to control customer devices to balance loads and maintain the grid in an economically feasible way.
Successful utility outreach programs include:
- Text message alerts and offers
- Dynamic payment options
- Energy usage portals
- Advanced demand management programs
- Online consumer product marketplace
Consumer expectations have changed drastically in the last decade, creating a demand for an automated approach to information. Utilities that desire improved loyalty and satisfaction will find it harder without the capacity to create an indispensable connection.