Pam Cooper

About Pam Cooper

Pam is a research director at Market Strategies International. With 17 years of research and analytics experience, Pam has led projects for Fortune 100 clients in many industries, including energy, telecommunications, automotive, non-profits, consumer packaged goods, financial services, healthcare and industrial products. Throughout her career, she has helped clients address a full range of strategic marketing issues including customer loyalty and retention, market analysis and forecasting, branding/corporate reputation, segmentation, new product/service research and competitive analysis. Within the energy industry, Pam has developed and managed research programs for Southern California Edison, Oncor, Pepco Holdings, DTE Energy, Orlando Utility Commission, Tampa Electric/Peoples Gas, Con Edison, Energy Market Innovations and Arkansas Electric Consumer Cooperative. Prior to joining Market Strategies, she held research leadership roles at DTE Energy and ForeSee, and created the research department at PCGCampbell, the largest privately-owned marketing communications firm in Michigan. Pam earned an MBA in Marketing from The Eli Broad Graduate School of Management at Michigan State University and a BA in Linguistics and French from The University of Michigan.

How Energy Utility Brands Should Develop KPIs

How Energy Utility Brands Should Develop KPIs 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

Energy Innovation is Going to Pot

Energy Innovation is Going to PotMarijuana 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.

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How to Conduct a Health Assessment for Today’s Utilities

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.

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How Utilities Can Leverage the White-Hot Solar Market

2015-05-solarChicago 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?

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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