How utilities speak to customers about the impact of renewable energy will determine whether this change is viewed positively or negatively. Going green undoubtedly comes at a cost. Projections for infrastructure updates could add anywhere from $20 to $58 to monthly bills for residential and business customers. Effectively communicating rate increases to customers will be essential to get right.
By definition, ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid (Oxford Languages). Many businesses, including utility companies, have been victimized by ransomware. In fact, 2020 saw the largest increase in global ransomware attacks to date. Specifically, Purplesec.us published the estimated cost of ransomware attacks at:
Blake Morgan, a writer for Forbes, says customer-centricity is one of the biggest, competitive advantages a company can have. “Instead of competing on price, more than two-thirds of companies now compete mostly on the base of customer experience,” she wrote in the article, “The 10 Most Customer-Obsessed Companies Of 2019.”
The past election was a close race between president, Donald Trump and his contender, Joe Biden. Red vs. Blue, Us vs. Them. But in the end, Biden won the election. With the change in president, there is a natural resistance to new thinking. However, that resistance shouldn’t carry over to advancing our clean energy goals at the federal level. Regardless of political party, clean energy is our future.
Until recently, the traditional regulated #utility model for simultaneously collecting #revenue and keeping customers happy had been steady since the birth of the #grid. At the most basic level, a utility customer would use a particular amount of a commodity—#electricity, #gas, #water, and/or #wastewater services, receive a monthly bill based on usage and submit a payment. As long as the bill was correct, call center agents were available when it wasn’t, and service was uninterrupted, utilities didn’t have to fret over revenue or customers.
What would our lives be like without water, gas, and electricity? With an unrelenting focus on safety and reliability, utility companies have made life without these core services almost impossible to imagine. But what would life be like without the internet? Today, more 4.8 billion people use the internet. Just how pervasive has it become and what would life without it be like? Have we reached the point where the internet has become the fourth utility?
Customer-centricity is all about putting the needs of the customer at the forefront of business decisions, communications, and solutions. And Because advancing customer-centricity goals—at rocket speed—is a relatively new challenge for regulated utilities, there is a lot to be learned from other industries including public health (PH). First, let me start with the definition of public health.
It would be impossible to count the ways that 2020 defied expectations. However, one lesson learned during this unprecedented year should not come as a surprise: customer engagement was more important than ever. Questline deploys millions of content marketing messages each year on behalf of energy utilities. This gives us unique insight into the topics that customers care about. Let's look back at the popular content from this most unexpected year, to see what was on utility customers' minds in 2020.
In December of 2019, to write the article, “Partnerships and Connected Technology Vital to Smart City Buildouts”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Debra Lam, Managing Director of Smart Cities and Inclusive Innovation at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). We discussed its Georgia Smart Program (AKA: Georgia Smart) that was unveiled in 2018 with support from Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company.
Rebranded Publication: Stripping Back the Spin and Hype to Find Solutions Let me introduce you to our reimagined, redesigned, and […]
We’ve all heard the story of the woodcutter who—while clunkily trying to chop down a tree—was approached by a young man who asked, “What are you doing?” The woodcutter replied with a “duh” version of, “I’m cutting down this tree.” “You look exhausted,” responded the young man. “Take a break. Sharpen your axe.”
When we think about becoming a customer- and prospect-centric organization, what do we see at the end of the ‘customer-first’ rainbow? The marketing team ignites action and delivers quantifiable results. The sales team gets bigger commissions, because they are empowered to sell company and product value instead of price.
The #utility business model has traditionally focused on providing safe, reliable, and affordable electricity, natural gas, and clean water, and accurately billing customers for what they use. While this is no small feat, it is all that customers expect of their utility provider. Now the industry is buzzing with talk about “the utility of the future” because—to survive and thrive—utility companies need to look quite different tomorrow than they do today.
What is the value of a connected customer? During the initial months of the pandemic, Questline deployed more than 72 million COVID-19-related communications [link: https://www.questline.com/blog/covid-19-transformed-email-communications/ ] on behalf of energy utilities from across the U.S. The performance metrics from those sends revealed a lot about the successes they had in reaching #customers during a #crisis and delivering resources and program information quickly, effectively and economically.
Customer centricity is critical to the transformation game but offering smooth self-service experience and pleasant interactions with the call center is no longer enough. To persevere when a growing number of competitors are fighting for utility customers, utility companies must go beyond offering reliable and safe electricity, natural gas, drinking water and wastewater services to meet other customer needs.
I just had my electricity changed to a time-of-use (TOU) plan. The price I now pay for my electricity is dependent upon the time when I use it. Sounds simple, doesn’t it. But, sadly it really isn’t.
My rate has 3 different time periods with different prices:
● SUPER OFF-PEAK.
If you ask people to define a smart city, you will learn that it means different things to different people and can vary from city to city and country to country. Regardless of individual definitions, one truth prevails: smart city projects are imperative to utility industry transformation, allowing utility companies to survive and thrive—all while maintaining safety—over the next ten years and beyond.
In April 2018, I wrote an article for Energy Central called, The Day a Man Named Stan Called Me Tiffany: The Importance of Personalization. I framed the topic with a humorous experience I had at a New York City restaurant that I frequented. The waiter, his name is “Stan”, called me “Tiffany” and since that isn’t my name, I explained how his mistake lowered my tolerance for the average food served in this establishment, specifically the egg rolls. They had an aftertaste that I didn’t really notice until he called me by the wrong name.