New Trends in Technology for Utilities

April 3, 2020 | Blog

Today’s customers are driving utilities to engage with innovative technologies and evaluating utilities based on how they implement these technologies. Utilities that ignore these digital trends will miss opportunities to reduce costs, increase revenue, and secure the customer relationship. The customer relationship is at the center of success now more than ever.

Why is the customer relationship important to both regulated and deregulated utilities?

Satisfied and loyal customers can go a long way in helping your utility run efficiently. Whether you are challenged by behavioral demand response, disrupters getting in between you and your customer, privatization, cutting costs or finding new revenue sources, effective communication and a strong customer relationship work to your benefit. In addition, if customers are already engaged and seeing your messaging you will have more success communicating in times of crisis.

Here are a few observations reported by Gartner, Forrester, Forbes, and others you might want to consider.

Personalization has topped the list for several years now. Forbes predicts 2020 will be the year of personalized marketing. They conducted a survey of 1,000 people, 90% found personalization more appealing. But more importantly, 80% of those surveyed admitted they would be more likely to do business with a company that offered them a personalized experience. 71% were frustrated by an impersonal customer experience.

Hyper personalization is the new normal. Think of Amazon’s recommendation engine, it fuels hyper-personalized experiences using AI and Machine Learning.

Email platforms can now segment the content categories you prefer and customize messages accordingly. These applications can also learn what time of day you are most likely to open your emails and schedule sends determined by your behavior.

Video content will continue to grow according to Forbes. Customers respond well to visuals so you can only imagine the increased impact of a personalized video. According to a survey by Wyzowl, 41% of marketers using videos say it has helped them reduce calls to the call center. 94% of respondents stated video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service and 68% prefer to learn about a new product or service by watching a short video.

Interactive video content allows customers to engage with the video by using surveys, polls, links to calculators or personal reports. It is trackable and has higher conversion rates for calls to action as well.

Marketing automation combined with advanced technology like AI and machine learning offers opportunities to continually improve the customer experience. Automation allows you to bring your marketing efforts to full scale, increasing your reach and effectiveness. In addition, it personalizes the customer experience allowing you to engage and nurture the relationship.

Using multiple digital channels gives customers the choice of how they interact with your brand. Utilities may use multiple channels to address issues like community solar, electric vehicles and rates or payment options. This will improve program participation, education, and awareness.

Good marketers know that successful marketing starts with aligning your strategies with your leadership’s goals. Digital tactics are trackable allowing you to easily justify your technology spend.

Here is what you should keep in mind when planning your digital campaigns:

  1. Know your audience, get personal.
  2. Align measurable goals.
  3. Analyze the results and adjust to improve.
  4. Use automation to expand your reach.
  5. Increase your communications channels.
  6. Keep messaging relevant and simple.

Embracing digital technology will make your job easier. It will help you be efficient and effective while reaching your goals. Innovative utilities will use their data and data analysis to your advantage.

About The Author

Karen D. Morris, Marketing Manager, Apogee Interactive, Inc.

Karen manages Apogee’s marketing resources service as well as Apogee’s own corporate marketing efforts. For the past 20 years, she’s worked closely with utilities across the country to help them better market their energy efficiency programs through online initiatives. She brings timely and informative webinars to energy professionals through Apogee Institute as well as directs Apogee’s user groups.

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