Despite their desire for more tailored value propositions, SMBs often feel they receive the same services as residential customer segments. However, Accenture’s New Energy Consumer study found that engaged SMBs offer significant value, and energy providers should activate the CX their SMB customers want and realize the resulting opportunities.
The forgotten segment?
The study’s findings reveal important insights about the current dynamics of SMB customer preferences and behaviors. And they illuminate how energy providers must think differently about digital and traditional channels for SMB customers—delivering the content, features and experiences these B2B buyers expect in their daily business lives just as they do as residential consumers.
Shift to a digital experience
SMB customer journeys have become more complex, spanning multiple touchpoints. Leading energy providers are viewing digital as a way of delivering omnichannel, end-to-end customer experiences that seamlessly combine field resources, energy solutions distributors, sales, and energy management employees and contact centers.
To unleash trapped value, SMB energy personalization must be more sophisticated than simply adding more products or preferences. Leading providers are leveraging data and digital to enable connected personalization. With a 360-degree view of SMB customer preferences, energy usage history, location information and other contextual information, it becomes possible to anticipate needs and serve up actionable insights.
Create the connected experience
Energy providers can combine digital channels with digital engagement programs to deliver a new connected SMB energy experience. Innovative product and service opportunities include beyond-the-meter offerings such as automated energy management services, distributed energy resources such as solar and battery solutions, and installation and maintenance services. When it comes to SMBs, these new offerings will be key to success.
Four ways to take it forward
Accenture research and experience point to four ways leading energy providers could take full advantage of the always-on customer phenomenon—and boost returns on their CX investments with SMBs.
The moment of truth
It’s time for energy providers that appreciate the importance of CX to walk the talk in terms of investments and attention. If they don’t, SMB customers might switch to providers that offer the seamless interactions, multi-channel experiences and products and services they demand. Improving the SMB CX is a marathon, not a sprint. Energy providers need to stay focused and committed to reap and sustain the CX benefits over time.