At some point in our lives, we all need a little extra motivation. From running a marathon, to starting a company, or even getting out of bed some days, added motivation can be the driving force to helping you achieve your goals. However motivation is not one size fits all. Different people are motivated – and unmotivated – by different things. When it comes to finding the motivation to decrease energy consumption, it’s important to recognize that the same motivation driving one demographic to conserve energy may not be effective for everyone else.
A SmartGrid Consumer Collaborative webinar brief on the Motivations and Emotions of Engaged Customers revealed that high-engagement customers tend to be more future-focused for their motivations, while low-engagement customers tend to be more focused on the present. This means utilities must take a different approach to motivate and target the respective customer in order to get them to achieve the same result – conserve energy.
With so much information to their disposal, it can be hard for a consumer to separate the valuable content from the unnecessary fluff. That’s why utility providers need to help decipher customer energy consumption data, and provide suggestions and counsel on how customers can take energy conservation matters into their own hands. As a utility provider, here’s how to work with your customer to inspire energy-saving actions:
1. Deliver compelling content and personalized experiences to customers.
A customer doesn’t want to be seen as just an account number. They want to feel special, with individualized information tailored specifically for them. Implementing a one-size-fits-all strategy to deliver information may be efficient, but it’s not effective.
Sometimes, it’s not about delivering the information as much as it is providing it in a personalized, easy-to-understand way. When receiving targeted information, 80 percent of Simple Energy utility customers reported having a better understanding of their energy usage. Educating customers on their unique energy usage and how they can take action to save energy helps motivates them to make necessary changes and in turn, save money.
2. Focus on providing a range of experiences to motivate more of your customer base.
Delivering compelling data is a great first step in motivating customers to alter their energy usage. But sometimes it takes more to instill real – and lasting – change. Utilities can do this by translating usage data into things that more consumers will respond to, such as loyalty rewards, social leaderboards to compete against other customers, and badges to recognize positive behaviors.
By adding a loyalty component to engagement programs, utilities can further galvanize customers to adopt energy-saving behaviors and actions. These programs are incredibly effective in driving one-time actions at specific times, such as energy savings on peak load events. A Simple Energy program that offered day-of point increases for energy savings on peak event days saw energy savings upwards of 10 percent. It’s important to keep providing new and fresh experiences in order to keep your customer engaged over time, by rewarding them for staying committed to more efficient energy behavior.
3. Provide additional insight, products and services that customers want
In today’s world, customers demand more from their service providers, and that includes utilities. A study conducted by Delivering the New Energy Consumer Experience in 2013 found that 58 percent of customers want their utility to provide recommendations on energy saving goods. Customers want and expect energy advice and energy solutions from their utility provider.
One of the biggest ways utilities can do this is by providing energy-saving tips, such as upgrading out-of-date appliances in and around the home. For example – one of the biggest ways consumers can save energy at home is through an energy-efficient purchase – whether that be an appliance, LED light bulb or extra insulation. Providing value-added information creates a more motivated – and loyal customer.
It’s also crucial to stay in constant contact and top of mind with timely and relevant information. This includes providing recommendations for products and services during the moment the customer is thinking about their energy usage, such as recommending window seal treatments when the temperature starts to drop. And while many utilities currently do offer rebates and helpful information and educational programs for their customers, they aren’t communicating them effectively and/or frequently enough. A great, customer-friendly platform only works if the customer knows about it, allowing them to engage with the utility and build that brand loyalty.
While the responsibility to change ultimately falls on the customer, utilities can play a big role in helping motivate and elicit change. These tips can help customers make sense of their energy usage, take action to save more, and actually enjoy doing it, while building rapport beyond reports.