The coronavirus outbreak has demonstrated just how critical customer engagement is for energy utilities — in good times and bad. Under normal circumstances, ongoing engagement helps promote safety, smart energy use and program participation.
But during an emergency, as with the current global pandemic, your relationship with customers really pays off. Now this engaged audience is easy to reach and they are ready and eager to hear from you. You can share vital health and safety information — at the moment they need it most — thanks to your long-term commitment to customer engagement.
eNewsletters connect during a crisis
This pattern is especially clear with email newsletters. A monthly eNewsletter provides a regular touchpoint, a reliable way for utilities to remind customers that you want to help them improve their energy use and make their lives more comfortable.
During the coronavirus outbreak, being a reliable part of customers’ lives has taken on new meaning. And customers have responded by engaging with eNewsletters at unprecedented rates.
In March, the eNewsletters Questline deploys for energy utilities delivered a 36.7% average open rate. That’s 65% higher than the same month last year. Engagement with eNewsletter content, measured by click-through rate and click-to-open rate, also reached four-year highs. Even clicks on promotional links have been elevated during the outbreak.
The content customers are looking for
As with any content marketing strategy, an email newsletter should cover topics that interest customers and reflect their needs. In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak that meant articles about customers’ immediate health and safety concerns, as well as reassurances of the security and reliability of their energy supply.
That theme comes through in this list of Questline’s top-performing content in March:
- Coronavirus Action Plan: Protecting Your Power
- Do’s and Don’ts: Coronavirus Prevention
- 6 Ways to Make Your Home Office Energy Efficient
- Business Downtime: Steps to Saving Energy and Money
- 5 Simple Steps to Social Distancing
Customers’ initial concerns are now shifting to longer-term needs as they settle into a stay-at-home lifestyle in April and beyond. This is a good time to remind customers that they can take control of their energy use through simple efficiency measures. Not only are they spending a lot more time at home, and possibly using more energy, they might have some time to tackle simple improvement projects as well.
This also applies to customers’ home offices. They want to improve their work-from-home setups, including using technology like smart power strips to control their energy use. They also are looking for advice on avoiding scams and protecting their home computers from cyberattacks.
Many business customers are grappling with unexpected shutdowns, leaving their companies partially or completely closed. These customers are looking for content that will help them reduce their energy use — and their expenses — until they can reopen.
Customers are also open to program promotions that are relevant to their concerns — as long as the messaging is sensitive to the current climate. For example, the convenience and safety of hands-free paperless billing or online account access, or the potential savings of an energy efficiency program, supports the stay-at-home lifestyle and can help them reduce their energy bills.
Continue engaging with customers throughout the crisis
Customers trust their energy provider. You are a reliable source for safety information and customers look to you for helpful advice on reducing their energy use. Your monthly eNewsletter is the right vehicle to continue sharing that content throughout the coronavirus outbreak.