Build It and They Will NOT Come!

July 24, 2019 | Customer Engagement

For those of us who lived through the Dot Com era and the subsequent Dot Bomb era, you will remember the “Build it and they will come.” moniker.  The idea was to build a web site and users would miraculous find and use the site resulting in huge profits for its owners.  This model did not and still does not work; expecting customers to find and participate in programs is a flawed business model.

One of Apogee Interactive’s utility clients using our personalized outbound messaging and receiving outstanding program participation temporarily suspended customer messaging. They experienced two to three times the industry average for digital channels.  This utility then converted their Customer Information Systems (CIS) including the customer billing application.  During the conversion period, the utility requested that Apogee temporary suspend the outbound customer messaging.  During the messaging suspension period, customer program participation dropped between 90 and 95 percent.   We were not surprised that program participation dropped; however, this is a much larger decrease that anyone expected.

According to Accenture the digitally engaged customer is a valuable commodity to energy providers. Their study “Unlocking the Value of the Digital Customer” reveals that digital customers are:

  • 69% more satisfied with their energy provider;
  • 73% more likely to share personal and energy use data, and
  • 70% more likely to sign up for automated energy management devices or services.

These numbers are significantly higher than non-digital customers at 55%, 51%, and 48% respectively.  Customer trust plays a role in a meaningful customer relationship and that trust begins with timely, relevant and personalized messaging.

JD Power advises utility goals should not just focus on improving the website but also digital transformation that includes assisted online channels as well as self-service online channels.

The 2019 J. D. Power Utility Digital Experience Study concluded:

  • Utilities score low in digital experience, receiving 512 on a 1,000-point scale reflecting a 60% decline from 2018. In comparison, retailers score 694;
  • Overall Customer Sat Increases with the addition of digital outreach, and
  • Utilities should place more emphasis on expanding their digital offerings to ensure they are meeting customer expectations.

Out of sight out of mind seems to be the rule here. If the goal of a utility is to engage customers, Apogee recommends personalize and relevant outbound communication strategy that delivers timely and useful messages when and where your customers need them.  Message them and they will participate.

About The Author

Jim Malcom, Chief Financial Officer and EVP of APOGEE Interactive, Inc.

Jim Malcom is Chief Operating Officer of Apogee Interactive, Inc., providing oversight business and financial operations of the company. His senior management experience in the telecommunications and management consulting industries is providing strategic direction for Apogee’s continued growth and success.

Malcom brings more than 20 years in corporate finance and accounting to Apogee, which began with the firms KPMG and Ernst & Young in Atlanta. His career steadily expanded to include senior posts as chief financial officer, corporate controller, vice president and treasurer for such area companies as Heidelberg USA, LecStar Telecom and Powertel.

He is a graduate of the University of Georgia with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in business administration, a certified public accountant, and a chartered global management accountant.

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