It will take new ways, old ways, and ways we haven’t thought of yet.
Our Utility Pulse™ ’13 study shows the potential gains in customer satisfaction available to utilities that can effectively communicate with customers about
- Updates during storms and power outages
- Incentive programs and rebates
- Realistic power savings expectations on energy efficiency improvements
- Energy-saving behaviors that will increase savings
- Payment choices and programs
A previous Daily Insight listed ways – traditional and non-traditional – that utilities communicate with customers. These range from bill stuffers, phone messages, emails and websites to text messages and in-home energy displays on advanced themostats. And a growing number of customers are asking for mobile apps and Facebook and Twitter updates.
Lower-income customers, who we describe as Working Class Realists, present special challenges and opportunities. They are more unhappy with their utilities than any other group. They have the most to gain from good information on the topics listed above. They are also among the hardest to reach, especially since many can’t afford internet access at home and have limited access at work.
Text messaging will continue to grow as a communication tool, since virtually all Americans, no matter what their income levels, own smartphones.
But our innovative efforts shouldn’t end there. If a message is important to a certain consumer segment, perhaps it should go on the back of lottery or NASCAR tickets. Or at an information table at Walmart or Costco. Or how about on receipts at retailers?
Placing utility messages on retailer receipts is one of several ways that utilities and retailers should partner.