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Smart Coaching

Customers won’t join the team unless utilities make it worthwhile.

Fortnightly Magazine - November 2011

Consumer Collaborative study showed that the most successful utilities promoted their time-of-use pricing programs as an opportunity to save money; in most cases it didn’t need to be a lot of money, just enough to get customers’ attention without making promises the utility couldn’t keep. These utilities also performed internal communication to educate employees throughout the company about smart metering, dynamic pricing, and the utility’s customer service priorities, and they expanded their marketing and communications functions to focus on customer engagement. In other words, they changed their corporate culture, and they showed customers the real value of joining the team.

But while cost savings might receive top billing, that’s really just a beginning. In a September 28 webinar titled “ Creating Value for the New Energy Consumer ,” Accenture’s Greg Guthridge said, “The more utilities provide options around products, services, pricing, and energy efficiency-related programs, the more consumers will ask for, in terms of convenience, simplicity, new channels, mobility, etc.”

When we’ve engaged our customers and they start to demand more of us, that won’t mean we’ve failed. Instead, it will mean they’ve been listening. They’ve joined the team, and they’re asking us to be a smart coach.