Dear Energy Santa: Three Wishes for Energy Utilities

Dear Energy Santa Three Wishes for Energy UtilitiesWith digital transformation occurring at breakneck pace, it is time to shift gears. Our wish list revolves around reinvigorating your brand and your approach to customer experience so that more people can “believe” in you again.

You may be asking; why wouldn’t we just add some shiny new toys to engage customers? Isn’t that what we asked for last year? While shiny new toys have their place in this strategy, we are inundated with new gadgets and technologies and the immediate data and information they offer, though the ongoing relationship and experiences we have with you are not changing as much to keep up with the trend. We know you are making strides to introduce new interaction and communication technologies to improve our relationship, though our experience appears to be stuck in neutral.

We communicate with each other only a handful of times each year and you do not always provide us with what we desire. Since we have a strong desire to freshen and update our relationship with you—and, in turn, improve the relationship our customers have with the energy industry—it is time you start considering a new approach.

We have three wishes for the energy industry this year:

Wish #1: Evolve Your Brand

In A Christmas Carol, Scrooge’s experiences teach us that it is never too late to break from traditional models. Energy utilities are among the most long-standing companies in the business landscape so they often need to work doubly hard to get customers’ attention, respect and trust by innovating and growing … and leading. Energy companies should continue to look to break the mold in search of better, more meaningful ways to impact their customers’ lives. To truly get to the point where our experiences with you match the rate of change occurring, energy companies need to reinvent and evolve their brands like how many other non-energy companies are doing.

Successful companies evolve. They do not rest in their existing models—even if it appears to be working well. Continually evaluating and reengineering processes, products and services through market segment research and product development research keeps companies fresh and successful in meeting their customers’ ever-changing needs.

Wish #2: Learn from Technology Companies

In the movie Elf, Buddy the Elf was not an elf by traditional standards. Buddy was very different, be it his size or inability to build toys as quickly as other elves. Given the digital transformation occurring, companies that previously have not been considered a fast-moving technology company are attempting to become one (see General Motors). Technology companies are setting the bar for customer expectations across the board.

In the end, Buddy the Elf found his place by using his traditional and non-traditional “elf” skills to make Christmas a success. The energy sector and specific utility companies need to take the lead from technology companies to help them transcend customer expectations.

Wish #3: Always Be Cobbling for Your Customers

Managing the customer experience journey can be a fra-gee-lay process. It should not be the work of just a small team of individuals in customer service but rather something that each person in the organization is empowered to impact. Each employee should understand his or her responsibility and feel a connection to offering solutions to customer issues either major or minor and provide the most optimal experience possible. This means that all employees should Always Be Cobbling (or helping customers get what they need).

Here is a good example, an energy client instituted a top-down customer experience program focused on the concept of expectations throughout the organization. Our client’s organization viewed the simple fact of only meeting customer expectations, while traditionally considered successful, as less significant in today’s world. The new approach empowered employees to focus on always exceeding customer expectations. Only when employees achieved that benchmark did the organization consider itself a success.

Companies that focus their organization’s mantra to always be exceeding customer expectations and Always Be Cobbling in how they approach the customer experience will reap the benefits.

2019 New Year’s Resolution—Traditions Are Hard to Break

Every year, family and friends ask us about the holiday gifts we received and we tell them whether we got what we wanted (certainly the case if we receive new socks!) and then quietly determine in our own minds whether we were satisfied with the entire experience. People are keenly interested in how satisfied individuals are with what they receive, whether a present at Christmas or the level of service from a company, a product or an individual transaction. While satisfaction is critical to understand in those situations, does it tell the whole story?

As detailed in our Utility Trusted Brand and Customer Engagement™: Residential study findings, operational satisfaction has improved considerably for the energy utility sector due to the utilities’ investments in improving their energy delivery reliability, their customer service and their brand reputation. At Market Strategies-Morpace, we believe that measuring operational satisfaction remains a critical “tradition” for companies, though we also believe it is only part of the evolving customer experience story. With expectations ever-changing as customers compare energy utilities with non-energy companies, we advocate that utilities also look at less traditional dimensions of customer perceptions such as Customer Advocacy and Ease of Doing Business. Using carefully-curated and industry-specific brand research, companies and providers throughout the energy sector can create a better, more lasting impact in the mind of customers that use your services every day.

This holiday season, let us all treasure the real reason for the season … cookies.

Seasons Greetings from Market Strategies-Morpace

Season’s greetings and happy holidays! From your friends at Market Strategies-Morpace. 

This entry was posted in Brand and Messaging, CX, Energy, Research Trends by Tim Veitengruber. Bookmark the permalink.
Tim Veitengruber

About Tim Veitengruber

Tim Veitengruber is a Director in the Energy Research division of Market Strategies International. During his many years with the company, he has managed quantitative and qualitative research projects within the telecommunications, energy utilities and advertising industries. Tim is skilled in the management and analysis of customer satisfaction and loyalty research and has managed many projects ranging from transaction-based measurement and market share assessment to brand management, customer segmentation and new product development. When not giving his two cents on a topic, you can find Tim spending time with his wife and two kids, keeping an eye on his favorite sports teams, coaching baseball or trying to watch for the next “big thing” on HBO Now, Amazon or Netflix.

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