8 Ways to Boost Satisfaction in the Energy Sector

All of us are customers of utility companies. This means we all have a view on what makes a good supplier and what issues can lead to a disgruntled customer. Communication is key to ensure customers feel valued and feel that they are being kept up to date.

The Energy Barometer

 

We surveyed 2,000 energy customers across the UK to understand what makes a good supplier of energy, and to benchmark the different energy companies against one another.  This has given us a clear view of 8 ways in which energy companies can boost satisfaction amongst their own customers. We have also handed out ‘The Consumer Vote’ award to the top performing energy company for each of these factors, according to its customers.

1. Listen to your customers

This might sound obvious, but customers need to be listened to. Providing different channels for customers to give their views and talk to you is critical. Multi-channel communication appears to be quite a strength for energy companies compared to other sectors. Customers are seeing their energy companies as offering a ‘multi-channel’ service, which is great news. However, it is up to the utility companies to ensure their communication is consistent across each channel. We know this is very important from our customer experience work in different sectors. Being able to talk to customers as they engage in each channel is critical, and tying up the strands of different experiences can build the complete picture of what the customer journey is. Insight across different touch points can help to ensure your customer journey is joined up.

The Consumer Vote: British Gas

2. Maximise the emotional loyalty felt by your customers

Perhaps not surprisingly, many customers do not feel that loyal to their energy providers. Apathy means they don’t switch as often as they could. How can energy companies build on the trust and good service provided? Being able to understand more about human emotions and its impact on decision making is something that smart brands are already doing. We know that brand associations are being formed every day. We use emotional engagement techniques which provide a clear diagnosis of all areas of the brand experience. We also use implicit reaction testing online to reveal consumers’ hidden, emotional reactions to your brand. And what does this tell you? It tells you clear which areas are lacking in terms of emotional engagement and we can provide clear recommendations on what to do about it.

The Consumer Vote: British Gas

3. Make Your Comms Works Harder For You

When we asked customers to rate their energy supplier for their communications, it varies dramatically by company. Customers expect to have an efficient and clear communication from their utilities. Energy can be a confusing product to understand for customers. We have worked with brands to maximise the effectiveness of their comms. It is important to understand how to deliver a memorable brand experience – tools like eye-tracking, qualitative research, online testing and consumer neuroscience are important to understanding how your comms are seen through the eyes of the customer.

The Consumer Vote: E-on

4. Keep Your Pricing Clear

Pricing is complex for customers. They want pricing to be clear and we can see that not all providers perform well on this measure. Customers want to be able to compare easily across providers. We are used to working with brands to understand pricing. Our pricing experts can help companies make the best decisions on pricing strategy by understanding how differing pricing will affect your customers. It is also important to consider the impact of price comparison sites on customer behaviour, as well as loyalty schemes and other rewards.

The Consumer Vote: First Utility

5. Talk Openly About Environment Issues

Environment Issues can be very divisive. They are often widely reported in the news and local communities can find they have very polarised opinions. We have seen that environmental concerns are where energy companies receive the lowest ratings amongst their customers. With so much media attention on negative news, it is easy for customers to view their energy provider adversely when it comes to the environment. Exploring customer attitudes and opinions at a local level will help to understand the impact of initiatives on existing customers and non-customers. People openly admit that the environment is important, but they are not always prepared to pay. What do customers really want in a responsible provider?

The Consumer Vote: British Gas

6. Supersize Your Customer Service

Customer Service is paramount. It is highly regulated, but it is a first touchpoint for what can be a confusing product. Customers want to be able to contact their energy providers easily, and they expect a response quickly. They expect an efficient service. We can work on event driven customer satisfaction studies to understand how you are performing over time. Equally, it is important to carry out mystery shopping programmes to understand how staff deal with different queries. You should also benchmark against your competitors to check you are at the very least in line with the market.

The Consumer Vote: British Gas and EDF Energy

7. Bring Tech To The Energy Sector And Quickly!

Bringing tech to the energy sector will change customer engagement dramatically. This sector has seen high profile changes to how customers engage with the service through smart meters, apps and more. It is important for providers to be seen to be innovative and drive change to how we manage our energy. Utilities must ensure that they are doing usability testing on new devices, and understanding customer behaviour on what they want and need from such technology. To keep up with the technology race, energy companies must carry out product development tests and make changes quickly.

The Consumer Vote: British Gas

8. Showcase your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programme

Consumers have high expectations of energy companies. Don’t be afraid to shout about what you are doing! Insight can help you to evaluate CSR schemes and develop ideas and propositions for future CSR activity. Once that hard work has been done, don’t let people forget about the good work that you are doing!

The Consumer Vote: Ecoctricity

If you would like to know more about our Energy Barometer please contact me and I can provide access to the individual scores for each company for each of the metrics above, and more.

Let us help you to unlock the secret to a successful customer experience

 

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Amy Nichols
01962 842211
Article date - 05/01/2016
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