The Continuous Changes and Challenges of COVID-19 – Are Utilities Prepared?

In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted lives and industries worldwide, changing the way we live, learn, work, and purchase goods.

In the wake of these changes, we saw utility companies positively adapt, finding new and improved ways to engage with customers, save them energy, and meet their new and evolving needs. As COVID continues and with colder days ahead, we cannot predict what challenges may arise.

In these uncertain times, utility companies need to be prepared with the tools and technology to meet evolved customer expectations and remain a trusted, stable energy provider in a time of need.

Are utilities prepared?

Do You Know What Utility Customers Want?

First things first. Do you know what utility customers really want? Affordable bills, dependable service, and reliable customer service go without saying. But in this digital age, there is less tolerance for wasted time and money and customers want more.

Utility Customers Want Your Expertise
Who should customers turn to but their utility company for energy-saving tips, programs, and products? Be sure your website, marketplace, social channels, and customer service reps are all equipped with the energy-efficiency info your customers crave. Review your marketplace product offering as well. It should be regularly refreshed with new and innovative products that will help your customers maximize savings.

Utility Customers Want Speed
Whether in the form of shipping, an answer to a question, or a quick way to pay the bill, customers want what they want – fast! In these times, user-friendly, mobile-friendly websites and utility marketplaces are key. Customers don’t want to spend an hour searching for an answer or 4-6 weeks waiting for their mail-in rebate, so give them what they need up front.

Customers Want Answers
Customers are accustomed to getting instant answers on a variety of channels. Though you may not be able to offer 24/7 live customer service, you can offer up-to-date social media channels and a website that prominently addresses common questions. This allows for quick and convenient self-service and more satisfied customers.

Adapted from Utilitec’s Why Customer Experience Should Matter to Utilities [1]

So what does it come down do? Convenience, communication, and a great customer experience. Now, more than ever, you need digital tools to meet these evolved customer needs and expectations. That’s where we come in.

Do You Have a Utility Marketplace?

EFI’s utility marketplaces are a seamless extension of your brand and meet several customer needs, as they are a resource for discounted energy-saving products, education, and tools. They are also a positive way to engage with customers and offer them a quick, convenient, contact-free way to shop from virtually anywhere.

  • User-Friendly and Mobile-Friendly – So customers can find products, information, and answers quickly
  • Buyer’s Guides – To empower your customers and help them make an informed decision
  • Hassle-Free Instant Rebates – For low prices not offered in stores
  • Thousands of Products – Choose from a huge variety of smart thermostats, water conservation products, LEDs, advanced power strips, and more to help your customers save

According to Oberlo [2], the number of online shoppers is expected to reach 2.05 billion in 2020. What’s more, between April and May of 2020, utility marketplaces saw a 20% increase in sales when many were turning to online shopping due to COVID-19 restrictions.

With the pandemic still ongoing and many still preferring to shop safely online, these numbers could very well rise. If you do not have an online marketplace to offer your customers, now is the time!

Do You Offer Energy-Efficiency Kits?

Kits consist of a collection of energy-efficiency products to help your customers save. You personalize your messaging and choose the products, and we brand, assemble, and safely ship the kits to your customers’ doorsteps. Because they are so convenient, they proved to be highly effective in strengthening utility-customer relationships and sustaining energy-efficiency efforts during the height of social distancing.

  • Convenient and Cost-Effective Savings –  Particularly with home energy use is high due to remote working and learning
  • Strengthens Utility-Customer Relationship – Offering personalized kits to customers at low or no cost makes them feel taken care of and appreciated
  • Educates Customers – Customize your kit with energy-efficiency info and tell them more about your energy-efficiency programs and efforts
  • Helps Fulfill Utility Savings Goals – Kits not only help your customers save energy, but utilities as well

Kits are a utility-client win-win and offer endless possibilities as a positive customer touchpoint. To learn more about the tools, technology, and services EFI offers to help boost utility customer experience, contact us.