Tips for talking to customers about rising energy rates

Posted to Questline Digital in the Customer Care Group
image credit: Questline
Bethany Farchione's picture
Marketing Director Questline Inc.

Marketing Director at Questline Digital, a marketing and technology agency that builds engaging experiences throughout the utility customer journey, boosting program participation and overall...

  • Member since 2020
  • 25 items added with 17,558 views
  • Jun 24, 2022

“Now is really a critical moment for utilities to couple proactive communications on reducing consumption with tactful messages on rising costs,” explains Mary Malone, Director of Busines Development at Questline Digital.

With soaring gas prices and widespread heat waves, energy is top of mind like never before. Your customers are undoubtedly concerned about energy costs and reliability.

When delivering difficult news, employ these tactics to soften the blow:

  • Let your customers know what you’re doing to address the situation. Energy prices rising? Pair that message with an explanation of what you’re doing to upgrade and improve grid infrastructure and how that will positively impact future pricing.
  • Understand that different customers prefer different communication formats. Carry your strategy across email, mobile, social media and printed mail.
  • Make complex topics easier to understand. When explaining your upgrades to the grid or new rate programs, use communication tools like video and animation to clarify complicated stories.
  • Be proactive and transparent. Customers are most frustrated by lack of information. Even when they news is bad, they are more understanding when situations are explained.
  • Don't try to sugarcoat the truth; it's best to be forthright and honest about what's happening and about what you're doing to improve the situation.
  • Acknowledge your customers’ feelings. It’s insensitive to tell customers not to worry. Instead make it clear you know what they’re going through.
  • Provide resources that help customers reduce energy consumption. Don’t just tell them to use less electricity – go further and show them how

"A cohesive communication strategy is no longer a 'nice-to-have,'" Malone adds. "Utilities need to be clear and consistent when addressing rate increases, explaining TOU and demand response programs, and promoting payment plans. These messages are all interrelated and must be communicated as such."

Customers are looking for answers. Could you improve how you share important information?

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Questline Digital
Questline Digital is a marketing and technology agency that builds engaging experiences throughout the utility customer journey, boosting program participation and overall satisfaction.
Mark Wilkinson's picture
Mark Wilkinson on Jun 27, 2022

Terrific insights.  Billing issues, surprise bills, and high bills also drive extraordinary call volume to utility call centers, driving up the cost to support customers, so getting customers on paperless billing affords utilities a better chance to be more informative with digital communication and get ahead of those issues proactively.  A strong communication model including paperless billing, personalized communications and proactive outreach dramatically improves customer engagement and drives down support costs.

Bethany Farchione's picture
Thank Bethany for the Post!
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