How Georgia Power Uses Research to Optimize Customer Experience

How Georgia Power Company Uses Research to Optimize Customer ExperienceI recently sat down Don Hodson, head of customer experience (CX) at Georgia Power (GPC), to discuss how GPC is maximizing the effectiveness of its CX program. For energy brands that are working hard to create a positive, seamless experience for its customers, Don’s insight might just spark an idea that can be applied to your company’s strategy. Enjoy!

Can you explain GPC’s customer experience goals and the specific issues you’re trying to solve with research insight?

Don Hodson, head of customer experience at Georgia PowerDon: Georgia Power has a strong reputation with our customers already so there is little value focusing on improving a customer sat score from 8.5 to 8.6. Rather, we look at all the interactions customers have with GPC—the channels they use, the issues they have—to identify where there are barriers to resolution or where we force them to make extra effort. Then we focus on how to mitigate those issues to reduce customer effort. Not only does this improve customer sat but, in many cases, it also identifies opportunities to decrease operational costs.

Continue reading

Seeking Right-Brained Chief Customer Officers

Seeking Right-Brained Chief Customer Officers

Hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once attributed his uncanny ability to read plays to, “I skate to where the puck is going to be.” That concept applies to utility chief customer officers and CX professionals; those who are tuned into consumer expectation trends understand where their “puck” is going to be.

Cogent Reports’ Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement (UTBCE) study is designed to understand customer engagement from a holistic perspective encompassing brand trust, product experience and operational satisfaction, but this blog post offers a simpler framework for customer experience. First up is marketing, which allows you to tell your customers what they can expect of you as a utility. Second, and just as important, is the actual experience customers have interacting with you—and where they judge whether your marketing was truthful or just blowing smoke.

Continue reading

Dear Energy Santa: A Wish List from Your Millennial Customers

Dear Energy Santa

‘Tis the season when your loved ones ask what you need (or, in my case, your kids proclaim what they want)! In the spirit of gift-giving, we penned a letter to Energy Santa with our “wish list” of energy-related products and services. The ideas are based on results from our 2016 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™ study, and although they apply to energy consumers in general, we’re focusing on the group nearly every company hopes Santa will deliver—Millennials.

Continue reading

Think Outside the Focus Group: Benefits of Online Message Boards

2014-11-enLet’s play a game. What do the following things have in common: Transistor radios, McDonald’s, Mr. Potato Head and focus groups?

Ding ding, you got it! All of these famous inventions were popularized in the 1950s. And all of them had a lasting effect on American culture. They are still popular today, but each is now one of many choices available in its respective category. McDonald’s gave rise to Taco Bell and Wendy’s and later spawned “healthy” fast-food chains such as Subway and Chipotle. Sometimes a Big Mac still hits the spot, but quick-serve restaurants have evolved to meet new consumer needs and preferences.

This begs the question: Why do so many utilities still consider focus groups to be the only choice for qualitative research? Continue reading

Redefining “Smart” and the Importance of Engaging Energy Customers

This past week, I attended the 4th Annual Utility Customer Experience Management conference in Orlando.  To be specific, I attended a conference at a hotel that piped pop hits from the 70s non-stop. In the three days that I was captive to Al Stewart’s “Year of the Cat” and Donna Summer’s “Let’s Dance,” I heard a lot of talk about the migration to web-based portals designed to help consumers manage their account and home energy usage. Ideally, these web-based portals will lead to behavioral changes that save the customer money.

Continue reading