GridX

GridX solutions are the toolbox-of-choice for utilities managing rate reforms and transitions (in particular TOU rates). Our suite of cloud-based applications enables utilities to upgrade and streamline their business and customer operations.

Post

Gain a Customer Satisfaction Bump during and after COVID-19

Posted to GridX

image credit: Photo 138942335 © David Burke - Dreamstime.com

Connect with GridX

Fill out this form to receive more information from GridX.

The immediate effects of COVID-19 on customer care are now relatively well understood.  Utilities have enacted moratoriums on payment related disconnects. Residential load has increased.  C&I load has decreased.  Record unemployment has increased uncollectibles.  Overall sales are down.  Costs are up.

Customers are uneasy and utilities are in a difficult situation.  However, every crisis creates opportunity.  And the coronavirus crisis is a golden opportunity for utilities to gain a bump in customer satisfaction scores – the ever-important metric that correlates with higher ROE for utilities. 

Bellomy.com reports that 60% of consumers who are aware of positive actions taken by their utility related to COVID-19 have a more positive overall opinion of their utility.  This leads to an easy formula to create a bump in customer satisfaction ratings.  First, do something good for the customer and second, advertise that you did it.  During this time of crisis, doing so will have a magnified effect on customer satisfaction.  Here’s a list of customer care opportunities to gain a customer satisfaction bump during and after COVID-19.

Acts of Kindness Provoke Interest

Imagine this scenario…you log into your Utility’s website, a pop-up displays “We have analyzed your usage and bill and have recommendations to save you 15% on your future electric bills”.   The suggestions could be one or more of several options the utility has analyzed using the customer’s specific usage history, including a connected thermostat or water heater, switching rate plans or participating in community solar.  The best part is that it is proactive and personalized savings offer – an act of kindness.

Help Quell Financial Fears

Three in five consumers report some level of concern about rising energy costsSimilar to how banks and credit card companies provide anytime access to customer balances, utilities can provide consumers with anytime access to their bill-to-date balances.  By providing the cost of electricity since their last bill customers can track their spending and better plan their monthly bills.  In addition, a bill forecast projects how much the customer’s bill will be at the end of the monthly billing cycle.   Daily Bill-to-Date and Bill Forecast can provide important information to 30 Million Americans that have recently filed for unemployment benefits.

“Brands that take proactive steps to comfort customers and protect their safety and financial confidence will earn a strong reputation, which will benefit in the long run.” – Forbes.com

Optimize the Relationship

COVID-19 materially impacted both residential and C&I load profiles, meaning many customers may no longer be on the optimal rate plan.  For utilities that offer customers multiple residential and C&I rate plans, Whole Population Rate Analysis (WPRA) identifies the best rate for each customer.

Let Your Customers Know What’s Next

With COVID-19 increasing utility costs and decreasing revenue, a majority of state regulators have responded approving regulations allowing utilities to recover COVID-19 related costs and lost revenue.  New rates are on the horizon and many customers are on tighter budgets.  WPRA can calculate every single customer’s bill on multiple rate plans providing a bill impact for each and every customer – based on their historic usage.  Personalized rate transition bill impacts for every customer can be a huge customer satisfaction win for utilities.  These types of analyses are critical for C&I customers.

“As millions are furloughed and retreat into isolation, a primary barometer of their customer experience will be how the businesses they frequent and depend upon deliver experiences and service that meets their new needs with empathy, care and concern.” – Mckinsey.com

Using these strategies, Utilities can excel in customer care resulting in higher customer satisfaction during and after COVID-19.

Rob Girvan's picture

Thank Rob for the Post!

Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.

GridX
GridX solutions are the toolbox-of-choice for utilities managing rate reforms and transitions (in particular TOU rates). Our suite of cloud-based applications enables utilities to upgrade and streamline their business and customer operations.

Discussions

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jun 4, 2020 12:16 pm GMT

Bellomy.com reports that 60% of consumers who are aware of positive actions taken by their utility related to COVID-19 have a more positive overall opinion of their utility.

Great example of showing how utilities can/should be not just a business, but a community pillar given their unique position & role with customers. Even more important, this lesson should extend beyond time of crisis and apply always-- aspects like working with low-income homes for energy efficiency, providing necessary education & awareness, and more

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »