E Source Blog
Welcome to the E Source Blog! Our staff will share insights and observations about life at E Source, our events, our research, and other fun stuff.
After listening to and reading commentary on 26 electric and gas utility interactive voice response systems (IVRs), we found five common issues that elicited the strongest negative emotions. The recordings and written commentary were provided by 16 reviewers we contracted last year to assess the usability of 96 electric and gas company IVRs for 10 key features as part of the “E Source Review of North American Electric and Gas Company IVRs: 2013.” Truly, any industry can benefit from following these five easy tips for improving your IVR, helping you create more-positive customer experiences. Remember, a happy caller is more likely to be kind to your contact center agents!
Like E Source, many energy research and consulting firms write reports for their clients, but we take the advisory process a step further by answering specific questions from our customers, creating customized responses on demand. This service is particularly valuable during the beginning of the year, when numerous utilities are working extra hard to plan and launch their energy-efficiency programs, respond to regulatory requests, and more.
Along with lowering energy bills and improving results for a variety of specialized greenhouse crops such as flowers, lettuce, and tomatoes, LED lighting can reduce costs and improve growth results for large indoor commercial marijuana grow operations. With the recent legalization of cannabis for recreational use in both Colorado and Washington State, now is the time for utilities to learn more about how to help these large commercial customers better manage their electricity bills through implementing energy-efficiency programs with LED lighting.
One of my favorite sessions at the 2014 Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) National Conference in San Diego showcased how Georgia Power is teaching children about electricity using the power of movement and physical interaction. The speakers were former teachers who now travel around to schools all over the utility’s service territory talking about conductors, insulators, and generators. On the first day, they had the entire room up on their feet, dancing alternately to fast and slow music as we imitated electrons moving through different materials. The next day, my colleague Bryan was the first to get up and sing karaoke at the patio party happy hour, so the musical theme continued. Check out the video of Bryan crooning, and read on for more details from my panel discussion on social media, as well as from presentations by my colleagues Ti Mougne and Bill LeBlanc.
E Source recently did some research on the impacts of using prepaid rebate cards in lieu of traditional rebate checks for utility demand-side management (DSM) programs. We found compelling evidence that rebate cards do, in fact, cut DSM program costs, but possibly at the expense of customer satisfaction, although this latter theory is a bit murky.
When I agreed to write about three things I learned during our website redesign, I wondered how I could limit it to that small number. This has been one giant learning experience. Our current site was launched when the Harry Potter actors were just entering puberty and Palm Pilots were the rage for tracking schedules. We would have done this sooner, but we didn’t have the money or man-hours necessary to do it right. Then in 2012, we took a hard look at every way we interacted with our customers, and the website kept rising to the surface as a key touchpoint.
What’s the right way to arrange your nascent customer experience management team? Do you have to have a chief customer officer? What are the best practices for channeling voice-of-the-customer data into the business to truly transform the customer experience? What lessons from other industries can utilities harness to shorten the learning curve?
As the E Source team gears up for our spring Utility Customer Experience Conference, we’re curious about where you are in your customer experience journey at your company. It’s time to take a short (fun!) quiz to find out where you stand.
The trouble with so many conferences—and the thing that keeps us all from retaining and applying what we learn—is that they’re too passive. Things are going to be different with the 2014 E Source Utility Customer Experience Conference in Orlando, Florida. If you’re looking for a conference where you can really get your hands dirty, this is the one.
Customers never cease to amaze me. Learning what makes them tick and how we can connect with them is a never-ending journey. Over the past year or two, I’ve learned a few things about our customers that have surprised me, and I’ve dispelled some myths. Perhaps some of these insights are also true of your customers.