Cold weather is quickly approaching — giving many of us a welcome relief from the summer heat. However, this also means higher energy bills, the potential for winter storm outages and other concerns as customers prepare for winter.
For energy utilities, preparing residential and business customers for the season ahead is vital, demonstrating that you are a helpful energy efficiency resource and increasing long-term customer satisfaction. Follow our helpful checklist to determine what programs and services to promote in the chilly winter months ahead.
1. Budget Billing
As the temperatures begin to drop, many energy utility customers are running their heat nonstop, causing their HVAC to work on overdrive. This can lead to surprises on their monthly energy bill. To help them avoid unexpected spikes, educate customers about your energy utility’s budget billing program at the start of the season.
We recommend creating a budget billing email campaign or high bill series, or sharing this information in a monthly eNewsletter. The right content will not only prepare customers for spikes, and connect them with relevant programs, it will also show them how to save energy with simple efficiency measures.
2. Welcome Series
Summer isn’t the only time of year when people move. In fact, many customers take advantage of moving in the winter, which is typically the cheapest time to move since demand is low and moving companies are less busy. Introduce new and moving customers to your energy utility with an automated welcome series campaign.
This best-practice solution includes three to five messages featuring a variety of topics, including billing options, outage resources and energy efficiency programs and insights. A welcome series can help your energy utility build strong digital relationships with customers from day one.
3. Outage Communications
Winter snowstorms have the potential to cause outages — that’s why it’s imperative to share outage resources with energy utility customers. The right outage communications strategy can help keep your customers safe and comfortable.
Prepare your customers with a winter storm prep series to enroll them in outage alerts or receive outage safety tips. During the storm, keep customers informed with ongoing restoration updates via text, email and social media. Once power has been restored, follow up with post-storm safety information. An outage action plan can help level-set customer expectations when the power goes out and achieve long-term customer satisfaction.
4. Energy Efficiency Tips and Programs
In the frigid winter months, energy utility customers are looking for ways to save on their energy bill. This is a great time to promote your energy efficiency programs and services, such as home energy assessments, energy usage tools and ENERGY STAR® rebates.
Share no-cost or low-cost energy tips in interactive formats like infographics, quizzes and videos. Keep in mind, your customers may not be aware of all the ways they can save energy in their homes. Show them how to take control of their energy usage with an interactive, 3D home walkthrough on your website, or share winter-related efficiency content in an eNewsletter or social media campaign.
How to help your customers prepare for winter weather
Don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with customers before Old Man Winter arrives. With the programs and services mentioned above, your energy utility can serve as a trusted resource while keeping your customers safe and comfortable all season long.