Staying Competitive in the Smart Home Market
The smart home market is booming, reaching 40 percent of all U.S. households. By 2025, that number is expected to grow to nearly 60 percent. For energy utilities, this sought-after technology is an opportunity to reach customers in new ways, increase engagement and improve J.D. Power scores.
Unfortunately, in today’s digital age, energy utilities aren’t the only ones competing for customers’ time and attention.
Beyond selling smart home devices, tech companies are using home energy automation as an opportunity to build digital relationships. In fact, many of your utility’s customers are receiving energy-related emails directly from these tech giants, today.
Google sends out a monthly email newsletter to Nest customers featuring colorful reports on each customer’s energy usage and local energy trends. The eNewsletter includes infographics and videos that provide energy efficiency advice and other engaging content.
For energy utilities, efforts like this have the potential to negatively impact their own customer relationships and undermine long-term satisfaction. As relationships with these tech companies grow, customers will begin to look to Amazon or Google as a resource for their energy needs – not their local utility.
Building relationships with content
To regain control of the smart home conversation, energy utilities need to take advantage of content marketing to educate and engage customers.
To keep up with the tech giants, energy utilities must step up and be the expert, helping customers understand their energy consumption. With the right content mix and promotion channels, energy utilities can educate customers, help them make decisions and show them how technology can be an essential part of a smart energy lifestyle.
In fact, research finds that 70 percent of internet users want to learn about products through content versus traditional advertisements. Content marketing builds long-term engagement and fosters a digital relationship that brings value to customers.
Energy utilities can breakdown personal energy use within billing reports, send articles and videos that help customers learn how to reduce their spending, showcase how smart tech leads to savings and give them an engaging and meaningful experience.
The cost of doing nothing
The risk of forfeiting customer relationships to the tech giants could lead to lower program participation, higher operational costs, and reduced revenue from lost marketplace sales.
That’s why it’s critical to build strong customer relationships around smart home technology and energy efficiency before tech companies make further inroads.
While it’s no easy task to compete with these tech giants, energy utilities have one major competitive advantage: Customers trust their energy utility.
According to research from the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative (SECC), 42 percent of consumers said the involvement or endorsement of their utility would influence their adoption of smart home technology.
In contrast, customers have concerns about big tech and data privacy, as cybersecurity breaches continue to make headlines.
The bottom line is customers are looking for smart home advice from a reliable source like their energy utility. They need advice and information – and that’s the perfect opportunity for energy utilities to take control of the conversation.