Today’s successful utilities all have something in common – they believe in building strong relationships with their customers. These utilities act differently than their peers for a good reason: the utility market is competitive in a way it never was before, and they understand their customers will play a more important role in the future. These companies are engaging their customers and building lasting relationships with them to increase their current and future competitiveness.
All businesses today are facing four major challenges:
- Customer Consciousness
Historically, utilities stood apart from the extremes of these challenges for regulatory reasons and more. However, the utility industry is quickly facing the above challenges and the following specific challenges:
- Stagnating sales
- Distributed generation growth
- Aging infrastructure
- Environmental regulations
All combined, utility bills are the some of the biggest bills a household pays. Utilities are increasing rates to compensate for the challenges they face above, but to what end? Customers have cut back consumption, shopped for savings and, in general, are paying more attention to tools that help them save.
Customer engagement is critical now for utilities to gain an edge in their changing landscape. Customer engagement is about opening communication with the customer, incentivizing them to be involved and exciting them to come back for more. Customer engagement isn’t as simple as talking at the customers; utilities are learning how to have meaningful conversations that excite customers. Once the discussion lines are established, when further changes come, utilities will have a way to effectively talk to their customer about it and make sure that everyone is satisfied with the changes.