In our new report, Innovation Outlook: The 2017 State of Energy Efficiency, you’ll find us paying particularly close attention to customer empowerment. In fact, we believe that raising levels of customer satisfaction and improving overall customer experience is one of the most important challenges facing energy providers today. It’s also an area where energy efficiency can do a great deal of good.
“Customer centricity is vital to the future growth of our industry,” says CLEAResult CEO Aziz Virani. “We must empower customers and put them at the center of everything we do. If we do this well, the customer base will make better, smarter energy choices that benefit our industry and society as a whole.”
People First, Buildings Second™
In our relentless pursuit of customer empowerment, we’ve created and refined a People First, Buildings Second™ philosophy. By truly understanding their needs, wants and pain points, and by leveraging technological innovations, we can help utility providers create messaging specific to the particular needs of individual customers. When we tune into their attitudes and behaviors and amplify their voices, we can dramatically improve the overall customer experience.
As Wired UK’s editor David Rowan observed, utilities that can work with customers on rebates, financing energy efficiency, green power and demand response will lead the industry in customer satisfaction. We go into much greater detail with regard to our People First, Buildings Second™ approach in our full report, which you can download free here.
Incentives are another tool utilities can leverage to increase customer satisfaction and to improve overall customer experience. They can also prove to be difficult to implement. Because the regulatory environments vary from state to state, and the needs of customers vary based on a wide range of factors, there is no one-size-fits-all incentive solution. To maximize customer satisfaction, energy providers must tailor incentive programs for their states as well as their customers. Open and proactive communications between utilities and regulators is crucial.
“The rules are so important,” says AESP’s John Hargrove, who worked for a utility previously. “[To anticipate problems] we would role-play rules—as if we were aggressive contractors, only seeking money. We would also borrow ideas from other states. We started going to the PUC [Public Utility Commission] with proposed ideas proactively. This would solve 90 percent of the problems.”
Ultimately, incentives create happy customers, and happy customers make for happy regulators. You can read more about customer incentives and customer satisfaction, as well as detailed and actionable findings on technology and innovation, and the evolving utility business model in the full version of Innovation Outlook: The 2017 State of Energy Efficiency. Download your complimentary copy today!