A few years ago it might have seemed strange for utility firms to be focused on customer care as a key differentiator, but times have changed. Research from IDC Energy Insights reveals that competition is driving utilities to invest in better-performing customer care and billing (CC&B) solutions, additional analytic capabilities, modern IT platforms, and more agile data storage facilities.
The IDC Energy Insights research highlights that utility suppliers strive to differentiate from their competitors, not only with lower prices but also with better customer service and additional offerings especially for enhanced energy efficiency.
It may seem like an oxymoron for an energy company to be encouraging customers to use less of their product, but their customers are interested in corporate responsibility – not just their prices alone.
Companies are now offering services such as over-usage alerts and notifications, package offers and bundling, rewards programmes, and behaviour changes to encourage energy efficiency through methods such as gamification.
Gamification is a key change in the industry as is relatively unexplored at present. Imagine if you could compete with every other household in your street to see who can use the least amount of energy and the entire process of comparing your house to a neighbour, or to the entire street, was turned into a game that can be monitored from your phone?
Techniques like this are going to be a part of the future. Energy companies today need to be far more imaginative in their efforts to promote efficiency and the most imaginative can benefit from customers switching to their service.
What do you think of the idea of gamification of energy use? Leave a comment here or get in touch via my LinkedIn here.
Photo by JD Hancock licensed under Creative Commons