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Actionable insights for the new energy consumer

Our new energy consumer research can help energy providers meet the challenges of the evolving energy marketplace.

Overview

Around the world, energy providers face rapidly evolving marketplaces and an environment of continuous change. Concerns over climate change, volatile energy prices and security of supply continue to provide momentum to the rollout of disruptive technologies.

Consumers are now central to these deployments. At the same time, new consumer opportunities are emerging with the increasing adoption of smart technology, mobile devices and the integration of Web-enabled platforms such as social media. The energy landscape is increasingly defined by the values and preferences of the new energy consumer.

More than ever, consumers are seeking added value, personal connection and products and services that align with their lifestyles—all of which go beyond the traditional energy experience.

With a firm view of the consumer values and preferences related to energy efficiency, beyond-the-meter products and services and emerging new competitors, in 2012, we embarked on the third phase of Accenture’s New Energy Consumer research program. Phase three focuses on developing actionable insights and tactical implications for providers.

Actionable Insights for the New Energy Consumer, explores questions such as:

  • What energy and nonenergy-related products and services are consumers interested in receiving from their providers?

  • How do consumers want to interact with providers and what expectations are there for self-service, social media and other nontraditional channels?

  • How can utilities differentiate themselves to more effectively acquire and retain consumers or increase participation in specific programs?

 

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Key Findings

Recognizing that energy providers want to take strategic and operational steps today, the findings are provided in the context of a consumer’s energy experience and specifically explore the consumer elements of:

  • Choice. As consumer values related to energy change, so are the options and value propositions they want.

  • No.1: Offer the "right" mix of products and services.
    Consumers are increasingly interested in receiving additional energy and nonenergy-related products and services from electricity providers.

    No.2: Maximize consumer willingness to pay.
    When it comes to paying a premium, consumers are more attracted to differentiated products than services.

    No.3: Maximize consumer desire to save.
    The majority of consumers would forgo customer service in return for price discounts.

    No.4: Create a value proposition with bundles.
    Consumers are interested in bundled packages that better suit their lifestyles and needs, particularly when they deliver savings, convenience or ease of use.

  • Connection. Changes in technology and the continued consumer move to online channels are shifting the traditional preferences for interactions.

  • No.5: Optimize the value of self-serve.
    Low-touch channels and self-service have reached a tipping point where consumers prefer these options for most transactional interactions.

    No.6: Unlock social media.
    Consumers in many geographies are interested in engaging with their electricity providers through social media, in particular, for service convenience.

  • Loyalty. Engaging consumers and understanding the drivers of loyalty and satisfaction are critical to ongoing success.

  • No.7: Manage consumer engagement.
    Satisfaction and engagement actually decrease based on the length of time consumers interact with their providers.

    No.8: Understand churn.
    In competitive markets, while switching decisions are largely price driven, loyalty rewards are emerging as an effective motivator for consumers to stay with their current provider.

    No.9: Engage the next generation.
    Younger consumers can offer a paradox: they prefer a complex mix of high-touch interactions, self-service and social media engagement.

Video

Listen to United Kingdom consumers’ opinions and preferences

Podcast

The Utilities Podcast Series provides industry executives with a variety of compelling insights and observations on a range of relevant, current topics.

Listen to an interview with Naomi Manley-Casimir, global director of the Accenture Innovation Center for Utilities, and Nicholas Handcock, senior analyst for the recent new energy research, in which they discuss the latest energy consumer trends based on Accenture Retail Business Services’ extensive end consumer research program.

Listen to an interview with Gerd Leonhard, futurist and CEO of The Futures Agency, and Greg Guthridge, global managing director of the Accenture Retail Business Services for Utilities, discussing the laatest consumer energy trends, including the concept of the “networked consumer” and a move toward an “ecosystem of value” for energy provision.