By touting incentive programs, utilities can engage a key market segment

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By touting incentive programs, utilities can engage a key market segment

An effective way for power companies to engage a disenfranchised group

In our Utility Pulse™ ’13 survey, we found that 42 percent of those surveyed are less than satisfied with their electric utility.

On the other hand, rebates on energy-saving home improvements are popular.

Some 80 percent of those surveyed say that incentive programs affect their purchase decisions and that they would check incentives before buying.

But only 32 percent of those who actually made improvements to their homes took advantage of the rebates that were available to them.

Those who know about rebates are more satisfied

Less than 30 percent even realize their utilities offer rebate and incentive programs, but those who know about rebates are more satisfied with their utilities.

This means that, by communicating rebate programs more effectively, utilities can engage and please a significant number of customers.

Opportunities among Working Class Realists

Many who most need to make energy-efficient home improvements are in the segment that we call “Working Class Realists,” which includes 24 percent of American consumers. They tend to be less educated, blue-collar men and women between the ages of 18 and 44.

Many of them say they “rarely have enough money to make ends meet.” And while it’s not surprising that this group likes utilities less than any other, it is surprising that so many of them leave rebates on the table for improvements they’ve actually carried out.

Utilities must think outside of the box to increase awareness within this group – using community organizations, public transportation media placements, and inventive tie-ins and ads at other “points of pain,” where this group spends such a large percentage of their monthly budget – fast food, gas stations and grocery stores.

We must not only let them know about the rebates, but also make it convenient to redeem them and reduce initial out-of-pocket costs whenever possible.

For a modest investment of effort, the payoff in improved customer satisfaction and increased engagement with a traditionally tough audience can be significant.

Skills

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Posted on

July 31, 2013

About the Author

Lee Ann Head

Lee Ann is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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