There have been many articles, postings, and blogs about increasing customer loyalty through engagement by creating moments that matter.
There are some industries and companies within their respective industry that excel at this; however, one industry in particular that I’d like to highlight is the Energy & Utility sector.
Both regulated and de-regulated markets interestingly have very similar consumer demands and expectations from their energy provider, the only difference is that in de-regulated markets, consumers can switch providers.
Taking this difference out of the equation, consumers, as a whole, are wanting an energy provider who is reliable, customer service that cares, tools to help with saving on their bills, and overall, putting the customer first in all things.
There is plenty of data that is (and can be) collected on the customer, such as their energy usage, their tenure, the types of energy plans they sign up for, their experience on the website (both new and existing customers), how many times they’ve left and have come back, weather patterns, etc…
So with all this data, now what? How can a company create a moment that matters with the customer?
First, the Utility needs to understand what are the moments that matter. This can be analyzed at many different angles and levels, but in simple terms, there are general moments that apply to every customer segment and there are others that are segment-applicable.
Let’s use one example of a general moment of Increased Usage, regardless of due to a weather event or not.
For the most part, Utilities have energy saving tips on their websites, newsletters, and bill stuffers. While these are helpful, they do not create a “’Moment that Matters” to the customer. It’s just information that they can get anywhere, especially with a lot of Youtube Life Hacks videos.
Being an energy customer in a de-regulated market myself, my provider gives me a summary of my past usage so that I can see the trends. Again, it’s helpful, but it doesn’t really do anything for me and most customers. It’s because it’s an after-the-fact summary and any action that I take to change my consumption won’t take into effect until the next billing cycle.
For this scenario, here is an example Moment that Matters…
What if my energy provider proactively informed me that my usage is trending upwards and I have time to change something that will be reflected in the current billing cycle so that I won’t be hit with a “Is this right?” bill?
By doing this, my provider engaged with me at a deeper level and put me first. I know have a different dialogue with them and they begin to build a level of trust where I will feel comfortable in looking to them to be the expert in my energy needs.
What if at the time for renewal of my contract, they proactively recommend a best-fit energy plan that is unique (or seemingly) to my needs vs the typical “renew and get XYZ”?
These are just a couple of examples of building a deeper relationship with your customers and creating a “Moment that Matters” where customers will remember this and use this as a tangible item that they will use to compare you to a competitor when they think about switching.
But I’m a Utility in a regulated market, how does this apply to me???
Just because your customers do not have a choice, does not mean that they should not receive the same level of engagement.
Energy is a necessary purchase and it’s our job as energy experts to provide customers with the best level of service to ensure that we are providing them with the best-fit solution for their energy needs. We cannot do this without having a trusting relationship with the customer.
The data is there, it’s a matter of using the data to paint the picture of your customers and help you tell the story to them that you have what they need.
Let’s really make a difference in customers’ lives and engage with them at a level that matters!