An engaged customer is easy to recognize in many industries. For example, in the retail industry, an engaged customer is an avid online shopper who tags their favorite brand on social media. In the spa or beauty salon industry, an engaged customer will book appointments regularly and leave positive reviews on Yelp. In the energy utility industry, however, it can be more challenging to define what an engaged customer looks like.
Customer engagement is a holistic approach made up of many small interactions that influence the bigger picture. According to Customer.com, “Customer engagement is the extent of the relationship a customer has with a brand. It can be strengthened — or diminished — with every interaction. From making a purchase to writing a review to joining a customer loyalty program, the depth of customer engagement increases and becomes more mutually beneficial the more closely a brand can connect with customers’ preferences.”
Here are the four signs that a customer is engaged with your energy utility:
An engaged customer will… connect with your energy utility on social media
Your social media platforms are a great barometer for customer engagement. Think about your favorite brand — you are more likely to engage with their posts compared to a company you feel lukewarm about. Engaged customers will frequently like, share and comment on your social media posts because they trust and respect your energy utility. They will also contribute suggestions, requests and ideas on your social platforms, showcasing their loyalty and involvement. They may even leave questions on your social media posts, further showing that they want to engage with you.
Keep in mind, your energy utility needs to have a social media presence with entertaining and educational content for these interactions to take place. If you have nothing worth “liking” to post, how will your engaged customers connect with you? Whether you share educational videos or fun infographics with valuable insights on energy topics, your engaged customers will have a reason to connect with your energy utility on social media.
An engaged customer will… take advantage of your programs and services
Engaged customers will utilize your energy utility’s programs and services to improve their daily lives. This is especially true with My Account and paperless billing customers who are more likely to have a strong digital relationship with your energy utility. Customers attuned to your brand might participate in an energy efficiency assessment or regularly visit your website to find helpful information on topics like renewable energy or home energy savings.
Engaged customers are eager to learn more about programs and services relevant to their unique needs and interests. By personalizing content in promotions and eNewsletters, you’ll increase customer engagement over time. Customers will begin to see your energy utility as an energy expert and helpful resource in their day-to-day lives.
An engaged customer will… make repeat visits to your online marketplace
Customers engaged with your energy utility will make repeat visits to your online marketplace. Research finds that fully engaged customers are not as price-sensitive as their unengaged counterparts. Of course, they will look at the price tag, but that is not the only deciding factor. They shop more often, buy more products and are eager to tell their friends and family about your brand.
To encourage customers to visit your online marketplace, be sure to send ongoing promotional emails with energy efficient products of interest to them. For example, if they are a renter, share low-cost products like smart power strips or energy-saving showerheads. For homeowners, share products that require a bigger investment like ENERGY STAR® appliances. For customers who visit your marketplace, consider sending abandoned cart emails when they leave the site without finalizing a purchase. For customers who are previous shoppers, share product recommendation emails to encourage them to make another purchase.
An engaged customer will… share positive experiences about your energy utility
Engaged customers are excited to share their positive experiences, whether it was how your energy utility handled a power outage or the considerable savings from an incentive. These happy customers are eager to share their experiences online through a thread on Reddit, a Facebook group or your social media channels.
While seemingly counterintuitive, engaged customers will also occasionally share negative experiences online. Though this may not seem like a good thing, it shows these customers care and are interested in your energy utility. In comparison, unengaged customers will be disinterested, resulting in silence rather than debate. Although it shows engagement, make sure your energy utility addresses any negative feedback quickly to resolve issues and to hopefully turn a negative comment into a positive one.
Build engagement with every interaction
For energy utilities, every touchpoint can either positively or negatively affect customer engagement as a whole. That’s why your customer interactions need to have value, whether you’re sharing educational energy topics in a monthly eNewsletter or promoting a relevant program of interest to a specific segment of your audience. With these types of digital customer touchpoints in place, your energy utility can then define what an engaged customer means for your energy utility.