Consumers want one-stop shopping - everything in one package, and the telephone, too.
The role of the local electric utility could take on a much larger proportion if residential consumers and small business owners have their way.
These customers are increasingly interested in purchasing bundled products and services, according to a nationwide survey. And they're looking first to their local energy providers for additional services, even for products the suppliers have no experience providing, such as telecommunications.
RKS Research & Consulting, a North Salem, N.Y.-based research firm, in September surveyed 804 residential and 406 small business customers across the country. It finds that these customers expect any bundled products and services to be offered at a discount of at least 5 percent, and their interest in specific packages increases in direct proportion to the size of the discount.
The survey demonstrates, according to RKS, that interest in new products is inversely related to the customer's satisfaction with its energy supplier. While some of the customers most interested in new products are least satisfied with their energy providers, others who are happy with their energy and long-distance providers are much less interested in combined products.
The customers who want bundling won't be satisfied with a generic approach, however. They want personalized packages of products and services to meet their individual needs, according to Charleen Heidt, vice president of RKS residential research.