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. Continue reading

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

How Your Brick-and-Mortar Retail Store Can Survive the Online Retail Wave

How Brick and Mortar Retail Can Survive the Online WaveThere’s no doubt that online sales are growing. In fact, at 16%, online retail sales growth is swiftly outpacing in-store sales growth, which stands at 3.4%. But before you close up shop, consider the other side of this story: Most of that growth is attributed to brick-and-mortar retailers adding online sales to their mix. Plus, when it comes to total sales, brick-and-mortar stores lead the way. In 2017, in-store sales increased by $152.7 billion, while ecommerce and online sales increased by only $62.5 billion.

So, while the Amazon effect is very real, it’s not as scary as it seems. But that doesn’t mean you can ignore the fact that digital is woven into the daily lives of your customers, or that many of them enjoy the ease and convenience of shopping for some of their favorite items from the comfort of their own couch.

What it does mean is that if you want your customers to continue visiting your brick-and-mortar store, you’ll need to make a few changes. Continue reading

The Financial and Emotional Upside of Marketing to Caregivers

The Financial and Emotional Upside of Marketing to CaregiversHealthcare marketers may be talking to the people who use their products—but are they talking to the people who buy their products? It’s an important distinction, and in many cases, these two stakeholders may not be the same.

In a recent self-funded study, the healthcare research team at Market Strategies International-Morpace honed in on how caregivers interact with healthcare services and products in relation to the loved one they care for. The results are striking in their implications for healthcare marketers. Nearly one-third (29%) of the adult population is responsible for caring for another adult with a debilitating medical condition. Of this group, 52% buy over the counter (OTC) medications for their loved one and in many cases without their loved one’s input—which begs the question, why aren’t more healthcare marketers actively trying to connect with caregivers?

Role in Deciding Which OTC Medication to Buy Continue reading

How to Optimize Go-to-market Strategies Quickly and Efficiently

Lessons from the Consumer Packaged Goods Industry

How to Optimize Go-to-market Strategies Quickly and EfficientlyThe telecom industry has always been innovative, but the innovation has been mostly incremental. Over the past century, we had telegraphs, then wired telephones, then wireless phones, then cell phones, and now we have smartphones. Up until the smartphone, the iterations were not fully reimagined products, just significant improvements on the existing products of the era. Today, we have high-speed internet and smartphones that put most of our communication and entertainment literally at our fingertips. Never has the telecom industry had to reinvent itself to the extent that it does today.

Telecom companies are now essentially media companies, not phone and internet companies. To accommodate all of these changes and to rapidly adapt, telecoms are engaging in an unprecedented number of mergers and acquisitions. A combination of these factors means telecoms need to constantly rethink their products and positioning. They also have to build and market new products—and they have to do it quickly. Continue reading

My Mom, a Caregiver: Portrait of an Overlooked Hero

How the Healthcare Industry Is Failing 29% of the US Population  
My Mom-a Caregiver-Portrait of a Hidden Hero

If you’re like me, you have firsthand experience watching someone you love care for the health of another person. I watched my mother care for her husband of 50 years, who battled cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Every day for nearly 12 years she made sure he was eating right, taking his medications, attending health-related appointments, and purchasing the healthcare products he needed for the day-to-day management of his conditions.

Like many caregivers, my mother was also caring for another family member at the same time. Her father needed help as he dealt with a variety of ailments as he slid into his 90s, and she had to make sure he was getting proper nutrition, accessing wound care, keeping his body active and mobile, and addressing his vision issues. Additionally, while she cared for the two men who meant the world to her, she managed to work part-time and maintain relationships with the rest of her family and friends. She is the matriarch of our family and appeared to handle the stress effortlessly. However, I recently discovered after a heart-felt conversation with her that it was not as effortless as she made it appear. Continue reading

Common Traps of Top-performing Customer Experience Programs

Common Traps of Top Performing Customer Experience Programs

You’ve achieved your customer experience (CX) goals! Congratulations! … Now what?

When our clients’ organizations commit to their CX measurement goals (CSAT, NPS), internalize the key drivers of performance improvement and integrate them with operational priorities, they often succeed in hitting their CX outcome measure goals.

While this is always good news, it can create new challenges—“happy problems,” as we’re told to see them. Here are some common CX program traps to avoid after you hit your CX goals: Continue reading

Three Things Utilities Can Do to Delight Their Customers

Insights Powered by Cogent Reports™   

Three Things Utilities Can Do to Delight Their CustomersThis article is not about building the fundamentals for strong customer engagement: operational excellence, a strong brand and value-added product offerings. Instead, it’s about the moments that catch customers off guard—in a good way—and how utilities can intentionally create those moments in their customer interactions. These moments help support a solid customer experience strategy, and more importantly, help create advocates, as customers share with friends and family, “you won’t believe what my utility company did!”

1. Invite new customers into a relationship

My colleague Chris Oberle, senior vice president of the Energy Research and Consulting group at Market Strategies International, has written about the missed opportunity for customer onboarding. Two years later, only 8% of customers new to their utility recall receiving any sort of welcome or onboarding material. Continue reading

Making VR a Market Research Reality

Virtual Reality Is More Than Fun and GamesMaking VR a Market Research Reality

Over the past four years, a flurry of product introductions has created significant buzz around the area of virtual reality (VR), and much of the hype is well deserved. Users confirm that VR offers an incredibly immersive experience. In practical terms, this means that VR users feel swept away from their actual, physical environment and transported into an entirely separate virtual environment that fully engages their senses of sight and sound. Fighting off robots in the land of Robo Recall when one is actually standing in one’s living room is both thrilling, fun and magical. However, academic research indicates that the benefits of virtual reality go far beyond offering a novel experience for gamers. Continue reading

Will Uber Health and Lyft Concierge Change Healthcare?

Will Uber Health and Lyft Concierge Change Healthcare?This year Uber and Lyft formally entered the healthcare market to offer rideshare services to nonemergency patients for transportation to scheduled doctor appointments. Patient no-shows are a prevalent problem in the US, with an estimated 3.6 million Americans reportedly missing their scheduled doctor appointments due to transportation issues each year. Rideshare services may particularly benefit older Americans, Medicaid patients and those with chronic diseases to help keep appointments and get care. Uber and Lyft have identified a wide-open opportunity that could significantly improve their business and simultaneously reduce healthcare costs and improve quality care. Continue reading