1% of Customers Go To Utility First for Home-Related Issues
Becoming a trusted advisor. This is the ambitious goal we hear again and again from our energy services clients and partners. It’s a hard one, and in some cases, means transitioning from being a commodity to customers to holding a relationship with customers.
In order to reach any goal, we need to really understand the customer perceptions and behaviors. We need to invest in learning where you stand, in order to know how far you have to go.
In KSV’s 2015 market research*, we asked customers about who or where they turn to for home-related issues, the results gave us an interesting perspective on how far the industry has to go:
- 33% stated a family or friend
- 27% stated online research
- 26% stated home improvement store/retailer
- 8% stated a contractor
- 1% stated their utility
99% of customers are looking to start somewhere else. (Yikes.)
When thinking about this, it’s crucial to pull ourselves out of the day-to-day programs and regulator demands. In order to build a relationship and trust with customers, we need to think like one. We need to hold their drivers and their perceptions top-of-mind to determine when and where we can deliver the highest impact on this road to a relationship.
Start with a high-level look at your communications. What’s your message? What are you talking to customers about? Is the conversation segmented across programs? Or do they all ladder up to one, core message people remember and connect with?
Because energy efficiency provides incredible customer engagement opportunities for utilities, it’s important to make sure we’re successful in leveraging that conversation. And the truth is… most of the time it’s not.
Energy efficiency is the utility’s opportunity to cost effectively meet savings goals, show their own sustainable efforts and offerings, while proving the benefits they provide customers… go beyond powering the plug. It’s your opportunity to engage, educate and advise people on how to improve the health, comfort and stability of their homes and businesses. It’s the opportunity to show who the real advisor is and will be as the energy revolution continues to grow and evolve.
In order to do this right, the message has to be balanced between both the emotional benefits people connect with and the financial benefits serving as rational proof for customer’s to act.
Step 1: Get the attention of your customers through the emotional, personal benefits of energy efficiency. Focus on the things that they actually care about: health, control, comfort, reliability, peace of mind.
Step 2: Support with rational arguments like financial incentives and manageable costs. Guarantee some aspect of these benefits and savings, so customers know they can trust you.
JetBlue is one of our favorite examples of a company changing the consumer demands of an entire industry. Trust? Satisfaction? JetBlue has now ranked highest in their division for the 10th consecutive year. And this is their 11th consecutive year of holding the highest overall ranking in the study.
Read Energy Efficiency vs. JetBlue to read the full report. What can we apply to this industry? And to our customer relationships?
KSV has more than a decade's experience communicating about energy efficiency programs and products. Maybe we can help you. Get in touch with Lauren Bell to talk about your current challenges and opportunities, and we'll work on some solutions.
*KSV National Consumer Research on Homeowners and Energy Efficiency, 2015.
Lauren Bell / Engagement Manager / firstname.lastname@example.org / 802.862.8261