HEY UTILITIES: NEED TO IMPROVE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS?

Mar 30th, 2020

For decades, your relationship with your utility has been very simple: You get a mysterious monthly bill, which you are expected to pay. In exchange, the utility delivers your electricity and takes care of any unexpected outages in a timely manner.

Technology is constantly improving, and so is the quality of communication and customer service that most of us receive. We are now able to go online whenever we want and get help with a product or service within a day. As the newer generations are starting to pay the bills, it’s important for utilities to follow the trends of other companies and deliver timely responses to their customers to show that they care about their needs. Customers have little interest in automated messages and instead want the option to communicate with a real person, whether that is over the phone, email, or an instant chat. The last thing companies want are people expressing their dissatisfaction online over something that could have been easily avoided or resolved.

Utilities now must also understand the younger generation’s desire in energy efficiency improvements to their homes. Customers who can access a full digital marketplace from their utilities with energy efficient tools & appliances along with rebates feel that their utility not only wants to help them save their money, but also that their utility knows the importance of promoting green technology. Some utilities have started this process, but there is still a long way to go for this type of initiative to become the norm.

With technology advancing as fast as it is, our rate of electricity usage is going up too. Utilities have been starting to explore implementing TOU as a way of curbing energy usage at peak times, but are worried about receiving pushback from their customers. Most customers barely receive enough information in their electricity bill that helps them understand their energy usage. To them, transitioning to a TOU rate plan would sound like a nightmare. To ease customers into a seamless transition, utilities must provide customers with tools to understand their electricity usage so they can start making the necessary changes to their habits before TOU rates are implemented. This needs to be provided in real-time so that customers can make the informed decisions to affect their electricity bill and remove the guessing before their bill arrives.

Home electricity monitors, like EnergyCloud®, are key for utilities to help prepare their customers for a change to TOU rates in advance. This could include providing a “shadow bill” in parallel with a customer’s regular bill so that they can get an advanced appreciation and deeper understanding of how their bill will be impacted by TOU rates. Combine this with EnergyCloud’s customizable real-time alerts with weekly and monthly energy reporting, customers can stay on track with their goals and continue adjusting their behaviour when it actually makes a difference. Transitioning into a TOU rate does not have to be difficult, and making it as smooth as possible is important for utilities while enhancing their customer relationship in the process.

A customer’s loyalty is more important than ever as competition is constantly growing in all sectors. It’s time for utilities to get with the times and improve their relationship with their customers, or risk losing them for good. “You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day-by-day.” -Jeffrey Gitomer