Topline Takeaways From “Discovering the New World of Utility Customer Engagement” Webinar

November 12, 2021
Author: Chris Oberle

EY energy-industry experts and managing directors Barbara Porter and Simon Watson recently joined me for a live webinar. We shared performance and insights on how well the utility industry is engaging customers, what customer engagement looks like now and how to prepare operationally to meet utility customers’ evolving needs. Our information clearly shows that customers believe it is the responsibility of their utility to proactively meet their evolving expectations. To engage customers, utilities need to better understand what customers are expecting of their energy provider, share their values, become energy industry leaders and create an environment for their employees to deliver on those expectations.

If you didn’t join us, you can watch a replay of the data-packed presentation here. Or, keep reading for the

  1. An energy industry transition is developing, as customers eschew the boundaries of a utility monopoly and expect energy providers to think about their customers’ needs first.
  2. In fact, 44% of consumers want the companies they engage with to share their values.
  3. Market leadership is becoming the dominant utility customer expectation. At the same time, utility customers see reliability, safety and service as table stakes and have a hierarchy of energy needs
  4. Customers younger than 45 especially expect greater customer focus, local outreach and market leadership, and are more likely to adopt enhanced energy options/offerings.
  5. Customers want their utility to respect their time, make interactions easy and convenient, and support clean energy.
  6. Highly engaged customers who understand their utility’s customer support and local outreach are more likely to support rate changes and adopt enhanced initiatives and offerings.
  7. Customers prefer digital communications, but utilities need to hone their skills on making these communications more effective.
  8. Digital service channels are also in high demand but almost two in three digital transactors have experienced some type of quality issue using those channels. Customers who use their utility’s mobile app have higher service satisfaction than those who access their utility’s mobile-enabled website, as doing the former makes it easier to resolve issues.
  9. The greatest satisfaction gaps in the customer service value chain are affordability and being treated fairly.
  10. More than one in three service transactions has the ability to increase customer satisfaction with service.
  11. Employee engagement plays a leading role in customer engagement. Work flexibility, quality management coaching and effective onboarding are critical to employee engagement.
  12. Energy providers that merge what customers want with offerings that fit their needs have significant revenue potential.
  13. Utilities with high Brand Trust increase their status as preferred providers of enhanced energy offerings by two times.
  14. Digital interactions are critical to consumers shopping for energy offerings, with two in three purchases occurring through some type of online shopping experience.
  15. The COVID-19 pandemic has made customers more likely to purchase and use energy offerings that improve their residence.

Please feel free to reach out any time to discuss how your company can prepare to engage your customers more effectively given the new world of customer expectations we now are facing.

And for more insights from the webinar, click below to watch a replay.

Watch the Webinar

Chris Oberle
Senior Vice President, Energy

Chris Oberle is a senior vice president in our Energy division, with more than 25 years of executive management experience in the energy and financial services sectors. He manages the development and delivery of syndicated studies, custom research, best practices and advisory services. Throughout his career, Chris has earned a reputation as a customer experience thought leader by helping clients improve the way they develop, deliver, engage and satisfy customers with their programs and brands. Chris earned an MBA from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California. He coaches youth sports and spends time with his kids at USC and UCLA.