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.
Earlier this month we told you how nearly two dozen E Sourcers spent an afternoon harvesting seeds from native plants along St. Vrain Creek to help with ongoing flood recovery efforts in Boulder County. At the same time, Bryan Jungers, an E Source researcher based in Patagonia, Arizona, was doing the same thing in his Southwest community. Why do we do it? Because volunteerism supports our corporate sustainability goals; it provides physical and mental health benefits for those who volunteer; and, darn it, it’s just the right thing to do!
How are space travel and energy-efficiency programs related? If you think about it, finding ways to increase energy efficiency for businesses is like developing a reusable rocket—both projects allow us to save money and accomplish our wildest dreams (assuming your dream is getting businesses to participate in energy-efficient measures—and who doesn’t have that dream?). Though Tesla’s Elon Musk and other visionary billionaires are investing their time and capital in pushing the human limits of space exploration, utilities are coming up with innovative DSM programs to push the limits of energy efficiency for their commercial customers.
Electric vehicles (EVs) pose a tremendous opportunity for electric utilities, one that will likely revolutionize the utility industry in my lifetime. That said, we’re a long way from EVs taking over the roads; one of the biggest barriers continues to be a lack of EV education and awareness. So I offer you this: Become an EVangelist at your utility and educate utility employees, customers, and local dealerships about EVs and EV programs.
Today, October 5, is the inaugural National Energy Efficiency Day. It’s a day for utilities to share information on their efficiency programs and talk about how they’re partnering with communities to drive down energy consumption. October 5 is also CX Day, a global celebration of the companies and professionals who create great experiences for their customers. It’s serendipitous that these two celebrations are happening simultaneously this year because collectively they create Customer-Side Management Day! For E Source, Customer-Side Management™ (CSM™) represents the intersection between demand-side management (DSM), distributed energy resources (DERs), and customer experience (CX). These celebrations remind us that there are pivotal interconnections between DSM, DERs, and CX, as consumers don’t view their experiences as separate interactions, but rather as components of an overall brand relationship.
Organizations now have access to impressive volumes of information about their customers, including usage behavior, demographic or firmographic data, building profiles, and past program participation data. Utilities can even purchase and append third-party data to enhance their knowledge of their customer base. The trick is knowing how to use this data to engage customers and break through the clutter of information people are bombarded with every day. In this week’s E Source Forum session “Understand, Find, and Engage Your Customers with Segmentation and Customer Data,” you can hear how a few utilities have optimized their marketing and outreach using customer segmentation and big data.
Can’t stop eating those cookies? Try moving them to the top shelf of your pantry. Simple behavior-change tools like this can help you reach your personal improvement goals as well as the participation and customer satisfaction goals you’ve set for your demand-side management programs. Here, we recommend a few strategies to inspire behavior change, and we encourage you to come practice applying these strategies next week at the E Source Forum!
Much of the research E Source delivers to our members comes from the thoughtful analysis provided by our own Market Research team. The team develops our surveys and benchmark projects related to utility marketing, customer experience, social media trends, use of technologies, and more. Here, we introduce you to the team members, who are hoping to meet you at the E Source Forum next week, September 13–16, in Denver, Colorado!
As an E Source consultant, I travel a lot throughout Canada and the US to deliver work at our clients’ offices. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of my job to roll up my sleeves and get down to work with our clients, helping them solve problems related to customer experience (CX) and change management. So when I have a great customer experience in a hotel, it sticks with me. Recently, I had two memorable interactions that reminded me why I think utilities need to get serious about CX—and how I think ESource can help. We E Source consultants are ready and available to chat with you at next week’s E Source Forum!
Since the E Source tech team first came across rooftop unit (RTU) retrofit controls back in 2011, we’ve been telling our utility members that these devices appear to be a great emerging end-use technology. Five years ago, only a small handful of utility programs were beginning to evaluate the technology, and most had never heard of it. Today, we’re seeing myriad new field-test results and encouraging product and market developments that are reinforcing our early assessment: RTU retrofit controls technology represents a viable energy-saving measure for inclusion in HVAC demand-side management programs to deliver energy savings and demand reduction for utility business customers.
Although customer confidence in interactive voice response units (IVRs) is low, utilities have an opportunity to surprise and delight their customers when it comes to providing a positive IVR experience. Join us at the 2016 E Source Forum, September 13–16, to learn about recent E Source market research on IVRs, tips for increasing self-service levels, and new IVR technology that can help your utility manage containment within your voice response system.