Based on our Utility Pulse™ 2013 study, three key messages in utility companies’ TV ads will be the most effective in improving customer satisfaction and J.D. Power scores:
1. We have price plans and billing options available to help you control your bills.
2. We have incentives or rebate programs available to make your home more energy efficient.
3. We are environmentally responsible and support renewable energy initiatives.
These messages address the biggest concerns many consumers who are unhappy with their power companies share.
Nos. 1 and 2 both address the issue that most strongly influences perceptions of utilities – the bill.
Let’s face it. No one tears into their utility bill like a big greeting card envelope with a cash-shaped lump. The utility bill is a mysterious black box that requires advanced math and a law degree to understand. And it’s not like most people have a choice about their electric utility, anyway. Few states allow you to shop around and find a better one.
And no matter how “good” you are – tossing and turning in sweaty sheets in the summer or wearing extra thick sweaters in the winter, rates seem to keep going up and the bill never seems to go down.
Ironically, we’ve found that even if customers don’t participate in optional pricing plans or energy efficiency rebate offers, just knowing that a utility offers real tools to help control energy costs raises satisfaction scores.
Number three (environmental responsibility and renewables) addresses a trend that we’re seeing across all sectors – almost half of consumers say a company’s environmental record positively impacts their purchase decisions and 59% say it’s important that their utility makes an effort to generate or purchase at least some part of its power from renewable sources.
Again – whether or not they participate in green power programs or take advantage of solar panel leasing options, just knowing their utility is supporting these programs improves customer opinions.
Campaigns that increase awareness for demand-side management pricing plans, energy efficiency rebate programs and renewable energy initiatives can not only increase participation in these programs, but can also increase overall customer satisfaction. These messages offer a win-win, with no down-side.