Innovative assessment reveals alignment between customers and their utilities.Posted for Direct Options
Used with permission.
- March 5, 2019
- 1207 views
Discover how your utility is positioned in customers’ minds.
Do utility customers feel inundated with marketing messages and programs? Actually, it’s quite the contrary.
In this first of its kind nationwide study, Direct Options explored consumers’ perspectives on their utility provider, the utility’s programs and how these programs are marketed. The survey of over 3,000 consumers was fielded in the fall of 2018 to benchmark consumer attitudes on utilities. Now, Direct Options is offering utilities the opportunity to complete a corresponding study to discover how their views align with their customers, and to other companies in the utility space. In the survey results, Portland General Electric, MidAmerican Energy, and Louisville Gas & Electric are among the top performers in aligning with their customers.
“The power of this research project is the insight gained by utility companies upon completion of a similar survey that compares their responses to their customers’ responses. This comparison evaluates how well utility companies are aligned (or not aligned),” stated Jan S. Moore, president of Direct Options. “When these companies take the survey, they find the results are quite eye opening.”
Key Consumer Findings
The nationwide consumer-facing survey showed over a third of customers want to receive more program offerings, and that less than 5% of consumers feel that utilities offer too many programs.
This perspective is especially true with energy efficiency programs, where 44% of consumers indicated they would like more programs. However, the key to success is offering the right program - not just any program - to the right customer. Otherwise, the program offering is nothing more than noise in the marketplace.
When it comes to marketing utility programs, almost 50% of those surveyed stated they wanted more marketing about the available programs. This contrasts with just over 5% who indicated there is too much marketing behind utility programs.
Direct Options plotted on a national basis many residential programs and services frequently offered by utilities.* Overall there is disappointingly low awareness of most utility programs. However for several of these “unknown” programs, there is high interest. Low awareness of and high interest in these programs offers a marketing bonanza that benefits both the utility and the customer.
* Since not every utility offers every program – utilities can contact Direct Options to find out how programs they offer are viewed by their customers
The long-stated cliché, “Customers expect their utility to be THE energy expert” is confirmed once again. However, the research clearly shows that more than a third of customers surveyed are not aware of the breadth of programs offered by their utility and is a prime reason behind the mass misalignment between utilities and their residential customers. When utilities market the right products and services to customers, their customers become engaged and more satisfied which delivers a lower cost of acquisition, revenue gains and operational performance improvements too.
For over twenty-five years, Direct Options has delivered predictive and actionable insights on customer behavior to utilities. The company provides a full suite of energy efficiency and unregulated program marketing solutions designed to achieve a utility’s goals and objectives. Direct Options is guided by the knowledge that a deeper understanding of customers creates a more personal and trusted relationship with their utility.
To take the assessment and see how your customers answered, click here. To learn more about Direct Options and how our data-driven, analytics-supported solutions predict consumer behavior, contact us. To learn more about the Consumer Benchmarking research and assessment click here.