It’s February and love is in the air. Although you may not think of “love” and “energy providers” as related concepts, leading providers know the importance of getting customers to adore them. And they know it isn’t strictly about sentiment—it’s also about business results, as Accenture’s New Energy Consumer latest research has shown.
Consider that in competitive retail energy markets, residential consumers with the highest customer experience ratings (one-quarter of the total respondents surveyed) are 20 percent more likely to stay, 37 percent more likely to recommend and 22 percent more satisfied. Findings are similar in non-competitive energy markets, where consumers with the highest ratings are 34 percent more likely to recommend and 20 percent more satisfied.
The potential impact in the small-to-medium (SMB) consumer segment is also promising. Accenture analysis suggests that an average-size regulated energy provider could unlock as much as $10 million to $15 million net savings over a five-year SMB digital transformation program. In competitive retail markets, our analysis points to even greater potential value. We found that an average-size energy retailer in Europe could unlock as much as $32 million to $37 million in net benefits over the same timeframe.
And yet, customer experience (CX) for residential and SMB customers is an area where many energy providers have made investments but haven’t always seen great returns. Too often, CX is siloed because of operations misalignment and the lack of data integration. What’s more, energy consumers’ expectations are simply changing faster than most energy providers can address them.
It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that more than half of consumers (54 percent) consider their energy provider’s CX on par with that of other energy providers. But just 38 percent say it’s on par with industry leaders like Amazon, Google and Netflix. That points to significant opportunity.
The quest for hyper-relevance
Relevance is at the core of CX, and to be hyper-relevant to consumers, energy providers need to become Living Businesses that continuously evaluate and adopt new capabilities to be more agile, responsive and innovative.
Whether serving residential or SMB customers, it’s time to stop playing “catchup” and start truly catching up with customers. With personalization as a key lever in the connected energy experience, energy providers should follow the example of cross-industry CX leaders like Nike and North Face. Both companies are empowering consumers to design personalized customer journeys by striving toward endless channel availability and seamless cross-channel experiences.
Customers will be the source of new value in the rapidly changing energy ecosystem. Creating a connected energy experience is how to capture that value. Future blog posts will delve deeper into how energy providers can architect and activate connected energy experiences that both residential and SMB customers will love—all year long.