Utilities: Customers Want Personalised Contact

In order to improve customer engagement levels, utilities need to personalise their interactions.
Published: Thu 15 May 2014

Personalised messaging is more effective when it comes to opt-in rates. By targeting customers, based on their individual habits and preferences, utilities are seeing major improvements in engagement.

Personalised messaging is the way forward

According to pilot programs in progress today, this approach delivers participation rates of 5-15 %, compared to the 1-3% success rates achieved through traditional methods. As a result, micro targeting and personalization can significantly improve the impact of existing programs, like energy efficiency or demand management, and drive increased revenue by broadening service offerings to include everything from new tariffs to solar panels, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, LED lighting and other home upgrades.

While most consumer-facing companies are shifting to a more customer-centric focus, the energy market has been slow to make the move. With a primary focus on delivering a critical commodity, traditional providers have largely overlooked the power of data to serve the individual needs of customers.

However, this must change if utilities want to remain viable in the age of the enlightened consumer.

Carol Stimmel, founder and CEO of ManifestMind says that after years of covering the energy industry, it is clear to her that the time has arrived to quickly move beyond business as usual. She explains that traditional energy providers have been struggling for years with challenges to their traditional business model. She adds that it is imperative that utilities make concrete moves towards a consumer-oriented and personalized service model as soon as possible.

It is for this reason that companies like Tendril, a provider of energy services management solutions, are developing technology that will meet these higher and more complex customer and utility expectations.

Tendril has developed a home simulation model with new insight capabilities which will give the utilities a better and deeper understanding of a consumer’s actions relating to energy consumption.

Tendril’s ESM Platform

Tendril’s ESM Platform aggregates large quantities of energy consumption data and combines it with publicly available information about homes and the people who live in them from services like Experian. This information is then analyzed by Tendril’s proprietary home simulation model to paint a complete picture of the individual-including their demographic, buying behaviors and responses to various types of messages. The Tendril ESM Platform then employs a unique suite of tools and an elegant user interface to deliver those highly targeted and personalised messages via a wide variety of online and offline channels.

Solution appeals to traditional and new energy market entrants

Tendril’s ESM Platform was designed for and supports both traditional energy companies like utilities and energy retailers, as well as new market entrants like solar, cable and telecommunications companies. By building simple queries, utilities can tap into Tendril’s SaaS-based platform and intelligently identify customers who have a tendency to opt in to specific programs and services.

This focused contact, as well as the ability to personalize for deeper levels of ongoing engagement, establishes new market players, opens up new revenue streams, increases the profit margin or efficacy of existing programs, and boosts customer satisfaction and service ratings.

Utilities must adapt

“Consumer centricity is the new standard and anyone who hopes to serve the energy market going forward must adapt,” says Adrian Tuck, CEO of Tendril. “For energy providers, who have traditionally outsourced a lot of their consumer programs, we offer a simple way to segment their population and create personalized offerings in an instant. For new market entrants, we provide accurate, disaggregated home energy predictions without access to historical consumption information—dramatically improving their ability to target the right homes for their services. The future is personalised energy services and we are paving the way for success.”

The Tendril ESM Platform, with micro targeting and personalisation capabilities, is currently being piloted and will be commercially available before the end of the year.