As utilities face increasing deregulation and competition from distributed generation, they need to refocus their key performance indicators (KPIs) on metrics that describe customer actions and sentiment rather than on the somewhat passive metric of operational satisfaction.
Recently, utility executives have been asking us to help them develop or evolve their KPIs to include Customer Effort, Customer Advocacy, Net Promoter Score® (NPS) and Ease of Doing Business. Given that the industry is primarily monopolistic, this presents some unique challenges in identifying KPIs that provide effective and useful metrics for utilities today. Continue reading
Marijuana is now legal in some form in 23 states. You might think that this is entirely irrelevant to energy companies, but when you look at the pot-growing industry’s energy use, it becomes a compelling target for the utility industry’s attention and a symbol of the need for energy efficiency product development.
My daughter, Lindsey, and I recently visited a physical therapist to improve the strength in her right foot. In the past two months, she has fractured and sprained it. Even after crutches, ice, a brace and various other interventions, her foot is still weak and painful. After a few assessments, the therapist assigned exercises to strengthen Lindsey’s hip.
What? The therapist explained: When Lindsey bends her knees, her right knee sways in, not in alignment with her right foot. This puts a tremendous amount of strain on her foot because it’s absorbing weight that the knee should be supporting. In turn, the knee sways in because the right hip doesn’t have enough strength to pull it into alignment with the foot. Long story short: We have to fix her hip to fix her foot.
Accurately Diagnosing & Treating Client Issues
This experience reminds me of many requests we get from clients who come to us with a symptom: “Customers don’t want to pay their bills on our website.” Or “Customers don’t think that we provide accurate outage restoration estimates.” Or even “Our customer satisfaction ranking has dropped us into the fourth quartile.”
To accurately diagnose and treat the symptom, sometimes we need to address broader strategy or process issues or develop a deeper understanding of the customer experience. With that in mind, we can recommend a full-scale health assessment for utility customer insight groups–an “annual checkup,” if you will, aimed at preventing major illnesses from bubbling up down the road.
Chicago isn’t what I would think of as a “hot spot” (pun intended) for solar energy. So I was surprised to learn that in one of our recent studies, Chicago-area residents expressed strong interest in solar energy and a willingness to seriously consider it for their homes. Based on national data, this shouldn’t be a surprise: In our 2014 Utility Trusted Brand and Customer Engagement Syndicated Study, 46% of customers said they would be interested in taking advantage of solar incentives from their utility (or already do), but only 16% are aware if their utilities offer such incentives.
Why the sudden increase in consumer interest in solar, and how can forward-thinking utilities make the most of this trend?