We’ve discussed in previous postings that all customers like engaging, personalized experiences. We learned at VI’s Utilities Summit in Colorado Springs, CO that customers' satisfaction is directly related to the recall of these personal messages and moments created by their utility company.
So here are the questions:
- How do we encourage our customers to engage with their utility other than just paying their monthly bill?
- How do we create these personalized experiences that our customers are becoming accustomed to with companies other than their utility?
Make it personal, and incentivize your customers for making these sometimes long-term behavior changes.
During the Utilities Summit, the VI family visited our client, Colorado Springs Utilities’ Conservation and Environmental Center (CEC). The Conservation and Environmental Center is an interactive learning resource that Colorado Springs Utilities built to educate and interact with their customers.
With use of this center, their customers have the ability to teach themselves how to use their resources wisely. They have access to conservation experts, the Xeriscape Demonstration Garden, an extensive resource conservation library and Xeriscape plant database, and they can check out one of the many interactive displays showcasing all ways to help them save water and energy.
Colorado Springs Utilities’ CEC has information on renewable energies like solar and wind power, information on CFL and LED lighting, low-flow indoor and outdoor water/irrigation equipment, holiday lights and more. It allows our client to create trust and a sense of personalization. It encourages interaction with customers outside of the billing and payment experience and gives them more control over the way their customers see them as an organization.
This resource has been utilized across a wide range of their customer base, including children. When discussing goals such as long-term behavior change, we felt it was best to engage all ages vs. just one demographic. Things that make this center the most successful for our clients:
- Hands on education
- Access to conservation experts, furthering the education that our client has proceeded to place in the hands of their customers.
- Classes and education tools for all ages – including school tours and gardening classes
- Information on rebates and energy/water efficient appliances
- Renewable Energy information
Why is this successful? Because they’re empowering their customers to make the appropriate choices for their specific utility needs, therefore enhancing the personalized experience and supporting our paid media messaging.
All of our paid media messaging revolves around education. This education helps utility customers save energy, water, and money – but our real struggle has been creating an experience that our customers feel is relatable and personal. With resources such as the CEC, we can help establish our clients as community minded, caring and experiential.