2023 Snapshot: Insights into Utility Customer Communication Practices

November 16, 2023 | Blog

Improving communication between your utility and customers enhances customer satisfaction and the overall customer experience. Apogee recently surveyed webinar participants over several months in 2023 to gain insight into utility customer communication. Uncover your peers’ best practices, from planning and personalization to engagement and education.


Planning and Personalization

Earlier this year, J.D. Power released findings from their 2023 Digital Engagement Study revealing utilities are lagging in digital communications. J.D Power, Sr. Digital Manager Jon Sundberg commented, “At a time when rates are hitting record highs, catastrophic weather and outages are frequent, the need to communicate effectively is paramount, utilities cannot afford to ignore implementing a digital strategy.”

The good news is that according to Apogee’s survey, 82% of the utility respondents have a plan or are in the early planning stages to develop a personalized digital engagement strategy moving forward.


Communication Channels

To align with customer expectations, utilities should prioritize personalization. Customers’ expectations are high, and they expect personalized content relevant to their interests. Using your customer data to tailor customer communication—like alerts, energy tips, and programs and services that align with their needs—is critical to meeting expectations.

To improve customer satisfaction, our survey respondents commonly use education (22%), live events (21%), social media (20%), and print mailing (20%) to reach their customers. It is interesting to note, however, that of the utility professionals we surveyed, only 3% use personalized video and only 14% are segmenting customer interests and using targeted email.

Apogee’s case studies highlight impressive results from utilities focusing on personalized and targeted communication. Utilities boast as much as a 10% increase in program participation, and over 93% of their customers reported they did not need to contact the call center after receiving Apogee’s personalized video bill explanation. While the trend toward proactive and personalized communications among utilities grows, there is still room for improvement.


Proactive and Timely Communication

Providing value through proactive and timely communication is critical to effectively communicate with your customers. For example, 83% of respondents plan to communicate possible price increases this winter due to higher fuel costs.

To help your customers prepare, it’s a good idea to provide high-bill data and offer ways to correct a potential high-bill mid-cycle. That way, there is still time for the customer to reduce their energy use. Additionally, you’ll reduce the number of calls your customer service team receives by proactively providing bill explanations before the bill drops.


Engagement and Education:


Lastly, our survey asked respondents to share critical topics in their communication plan. Price increases, rate changes, and options topped the chart at 33%. Not surprisingly, energy efficiency ranked at 27%, while electric vehicle information was close second at 19%.

As you strategize for 2024, consider how messaging these critical issues can improve customer relationships and encourage engagement.

Remember to:

  • Meet customers where they are with reliable, proactive energy information to foster trust.
  • Educate customers about energy-saving techniques, conservation programs, and renewable energy options.
  • Provide digital resources through multiple channels to help customers make informed decisions and reduce energy consumption.


Here to Help

Is your company planning to launch a digital engagement initiative? Apogee is growing, and we have some exciting ways to not only engage customers but also increase operational efficiency and reduce the burden on your staff.

Contact us if you would like to discuss your digital engagement strategy. info@apogee.net

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