Building Goodwill with Customers During COVID-19 Pays Dividends

May 20, 2020 | Blog

Utilities using Apogee’s ENVOY proactive messaging platform are seeing extraordinary results. The platform’s communication channels include personalized video bill explanations, text, and email messages that inform customers of payment options, financial assistance programs, low and no-cost ways to save, and rate options. What makes the messaging captivating is each message is composed using the customer’s billing history and AMI data, making it personal and relevant to each household. During the COVID-19 crisis, this communications strategy shows customers the utility cares, is helping them reduce energy costs, and identifies ways to manage their financial burden.

Apogee uses its sophisticated energy modeling capabilities to craft individual messages that resonate with each recipient.  Sending millions of personalized messages over the past five years has produced a robust dataset of remarkable customer reactions:

  • 97% of customers rate the information as highly or somewhat Useful.
  • Click-thru rates have been 20 times higher than the industry standard,
  • Net Promoter Scores have jumped to 39 from the utility industry average of 15.

Utilities using proactive messaging are reaping numerous rewards during this crisis.  One major Midwest IOU using this digital strategy documented a 15 percent reduction in calls to the call center.

Apogee’s Engagement Manager, Elizabeth Burroughs, shared, “Apogee takes a proactive approach to communications, and we recognize that this will be a long-term effort.” She continued, “We provide utilities a four to six-month communication plan around COVID-19 messaging configured to the utility’s needs.”

Apogee’s clients started implementing their COVID-19 messaging in April and, since then, have noticed exceptional results. One utility has seen an increase of over 40% in click-through rates in just a few months. We also included a standardized Net Promoter Score question that measures customer loyalty in a survey at the end of the video tailored to COVID-19; the score increased by 7 points, which was an increase of 23%. This data proves that this is content customers want to see.

A recent survey by Apogee revealed that the biggest challenge faced by utilities is communicating with customers, followed by the need to assist customers financially. It is crucial to start planning how you will communicate with customers going forward. With a digital communications strategy in place, regardless of the message, utilities have an advantage and the ability to address concerns quickly.

During these challenging times, utilities are using this unique opportunity to foster goodwill with customers, while building stronger relationships by providing relevant, useful, and consistent information through cost-effective digital channels. Their investments in helping customers now will pay off as we take the first steps on the road to recovery.

Apogee Institute recently gave a compelling presentation on COVID-19. You can view the presentation “How COVID-19 is Impacting the Utility Industry.” in its entirety here.


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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