Build long-term customer satisfaction with energy utility customers through consistent, meaningful touchpoints
Customer engagement is one of the biggest challenges facing energy utility marketers. Energy is a vital service, but many customers simply don’t think of their utility unless they need to pay their monthly bill or the lights go out. While both of these situations require communications — a payment notice and an outage alert — achieving customer engagement goes beyond the basics of transactional messaging. For energy utilities, the customer engagement journey requires a regular cadence of consistent, timely and valuable touchpoints.
Why customer engagement matters to energy utilities:
- Strong digital relationships have a significant impact on the success of your energy utility’s marketing campaigns and program goals.
- Ongoing customer engagement is a key driver of long-term customer satisfaction.
- With established digital relationships, you can effectively communicate with your customers when needed, in good times and bad.
Your energy utility is competing for attention among hundreds of emails delivered to customers’ inboxes on a daily basis. Without an engaged audience, your messages are often lost in a sea of nonstop marketing clutter. When customer engagement is strong, your energy utility customers seek out your messages — reducing the cost to reach customers and increasing the impact of those messages.
Engaged customers are 49% more likely to engage with future energy utility communications than unengaged customers.
The utility customer engagement journey
Customer engagement requires consistent communications that go beyond transactional messages. With the right content, customers will view your energy utility as a helpful resource in their daily lives — and they will be more likely to open and act on your communications.
It’s all too easy for customers to tune out information that doesn’t interest them. By some counts, the average consumer is exposed to more than 5,000 digital ads every day — and they ignore most of them. Instead of just promoting your energy utility’s programs or services, your marketing efforts should provide customers with relevant content that addresses their specific wants and needs.
This trusted relationship must be built over time with meaningful touchpoints that bring value to residential and business customers. Through our experience working with energy utilities across the country, we recommend the following touchpoints in a customer engagement journey:
Touchpoint 1: Welcome Series
A Welcome Series builds relationships with new and moving customers at the start of service when they are easiest to reach. This automated campaign, consisting of three to five messages, kicks off the digital relationship between your energy utility and your customers.
- In 2019, nearly half of all Welcome Series emails were opened and 1 in 10 customers clicked through at least one email.
- Residential customers are most engaged with these messages. In fact, one out of two customers opens Welcome Series.
- Business customers, typically harder to reach than residential customers, are also highly engaged in Welcome Series.
Welcome Series graduates — customers who engage with at least one Welcome Series email — are much more engaged with future utility digital communications than customers who did not engage with Welcome Series.
Touchpoint 2: eNewsletters
A relevant and reliable channel of communication, email newsletters provide ongoing engagement with your residential and business customers. eNewsletters are an ideal platform to provide a steady stream of valuable content, from energy savings tips to resources on solar panel installation.
- Residential eNewsletter readers open promotional emails at a 37% higher rate than non-readers.
- 11% of viewed newsletter articles received an outbound click to a program promotion or other call-to-action.
- Segmented eNewsletter content increased customer engagement by as much as 32%.
Overall, readers who have engaged with an eNewsletter have a much higher engagement rate with marketing and other campaigns compared to non-readers. eNewsletter readers clicks on program promotions at a 52% higher rate, click on outage communications at a 53% higher rate, and click on paperless billing promotions at a 52% higher rate.
Touchpoint 3: Content Marketing Solutions
A consistent content marketing strategy is the driving force behind greater customer engagement. Your customers are drawn to information they find useful, valuable or interesting. With the right content delivered to the right audience, your customer relationships will be based on trust and familiarity, not a one-time sales message.
Questline’s Content Catalog features more than 3,000 ready-to-deploy articles, videos, infographics, social posts and interactive games.
From solving customer pain points to sharing insights about a growing home technology trend, there are endless content topics available for energy utilities to share. The key is understanding your audience and what resonates most with your customers. In addition to the right messaging, the type of content is also important, such as an in-depth article, eye-catching infographic or entertaining video.
Learn more about how your energy utility can improve customer engagement with valuable communications.
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