Whether it’s going to a sale at my favorite clothing store or turning off the lights to save a few cents on my energy bill, I’m always looking for ways to save money. I also love analyzing the next best way to organize and make my life easier, like getting rid of all that extra clutter under my bathroom sink.
Utilities need to do the same thing: organize their website content to help customers save money. Let’s take energy-use information and analysis, for example. Our Review of North American Electric and Gas Company Residential Websites: 2015 looked at just over 100 utility websites across the US and Canada and determined best practices and pitfalls to avoid for features like Energy-Use Analysis. While utilities have made some strides when it comes to the content around this feature—such as providing comparisons to similar homes—they’re still not connecting the dots for customers. That is, they’re not consolidating the data and content related to customers’ energy use.
When I was conducting the study in 2015, I noticed that the content for energy usage and how to save money was all over the place. I saw public pages with energy-saving tips and energy-audit tools, and more-specific energy information was available once a customer logged in. Very rarely did I come across a utility website that provided all this information in one place or, even better, made specific recommendations based on a customer’s energy-use information.
Our My Energy Use Design Guide (for members of the E Source E-Channel Service), which discusses design do’s and don’ts, explains that providing information that’s too shallow or generic to be useful is a downfall for utilities. However, we know that utilities often have a lot of information on this topic, so the solution is to house energy-use information in one place so it’s easy for customers to find and take action on.
Optimizing a customer’s interaction with a website feature like Energy-Use Analysis is important for utilities to think about, especially when they’re implementing an omnichannel strategy. At the 2016 E Source Forum, September 13–16, we’ll be discussing how customers are turning to the website first over other contact channels, as well as how you can leverage that choice of channel and improve it to meet customers’ needs. Join us for the session “Optimizing the Utility Digital Experience” on Thursday, September 15. You’ll hear about recent E Source market research in this area and get insights from a seasoned utility customer experience (CX) professional that you can implement immediately at your utility.
But wait, there’s more! We’ve got an entire topical track filled with great CX sessions on everything from omnichannel strategy (“Leveraging Customer-Facing Channels to Support an Omnichannel Strategy”) to customer data analysis (“Voice-of-the-Customer Data: A User’s Manual”). Have you registered for Forum yet? Do it now! I hope to see you there!