Posted to Energy Central in the Customer Care Group
Matt Chester's picture
Energy Analyst Chester Energy and Policy

Official Energy Central Community Manager of Generation and Energy Management Networks. Matt is an energy analyst in Orlando FL (by way of Washington DC) working as an independent energy...

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  • Jan 17, 2023

In recognition of January 19, 2023, being deemed 'Get to Know Your Customers Day.' In recognition, Energy Central is asking utilities to chime in: using new technologies and programs, or even old-school methods like traditional surveys and conversations with customers, what have you learned in recent years about your customers? And what has that knowledge empowered you to do when it comes to best serving them? 

Share your thoughts (and follow up questions) in the comments below!

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The energy marketing business offers a unique opportunity to learn more about customers after a contract is signed. In my view, it is table stakes to make sure your client has an easy access to a copy of what they signed either via a hardcopy, electronic or on a portal.  Communicating and thanking them is a great time to get feedback.  You can ask questions like; was their account rep knowledgeable, did you make the experience easy for them, and the key one, what could you do differently. One then needs to spent the energy to track every single response, calibrate the responses - looking for trends and to communicate the results to key stakeholders.  Make it worth their while to respond and make it easy.   Things like sending a pen with a postage paid return envelope with the package or including an easy to find link or easy to follow instructions in the response are critical elements to secure good feedback.

Additionally, if your customers know that you were going to do something with the results, then they are much more invested in responding. You’ll get better response if you regularly give feedback about what you are doing.   Regular customer centric newsletters and blogs are great vehicles for this feedback.

So, in brief, successful efforts to learn more about your clients must include simplicity, value and communicating that value of the feedback to your customers.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 18, 2023

if your customers know that you were going to do something with the results, then they are much more invested in responding

This is a great point, Paul. No one wants to feel like they're having a one way conversation and that's a quick way to stop getting feedback from your customers!

I recall working at two companies that had a tradition of hosting senior executives in the customer service centers annually to take customer service calls, and on some pretty sensitive call types, too.  These sessions never failed to personalize the customer experience for everyone, as well as reinforce how we support the teams that touch our customers every day.  Listening to calls and actually talking to customers always makes a bigger impact than just reading the verbatim commentary from Voice of the Customer Surveys.

Mark Wilkinson's picture
Mark Wilkinson on Jan 18, 2023

I would add that leaders who went through the experience would have an appreciation for prioritizing solutions for persistent CS issues, and we often heard questions like "how would the customer on the phone feel if..." regarding some of the proposed solutions.  

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jan 18, 2023

This is brilliant, Mark! I'd love to see this implemented widely