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.
Lighting programs have always been a great way for utility customers to achieve large energy savings at a relatively low incentive cost. But as the efficiency of new bulbs plateaus, utilities are searching for the next big demand-side management (DSM) lighting program to get massive savings. Today (which curiously is April Fools’ Day), E Source introduces its Lights Out DSM program—a monumental offering that can result in 100 percent energy savings, no free riders, and major increases in customer satisfaction. It could possibly shape the utility industry for the rest of the century.
When do you celebrate Independence Day? Here at E Source we celebrate on April 1—not because we’re impatient practical jokesters who can’t wait three months for fireworks, but because that’s the day in 2006 when the E Source management team purchased the company from McGraw-Hill, vowing to “contiune to provide customers with the expertise and neutrality they expect from us.” This year is extra special because it’s the 10th anniversary of the date. From year to year, we’ve memorialized our Independence Day in various ways that usually involve food, but some things never change. From day 1, we’ve been proud of our ability to be a trusted, unbiased source of energy-efficiency information for our members. Join us as we celebrate E Source Independence Day!
For utilities moving into the world of omnichannel and facing some important customer experience decisions, we know it can feel like rolling the dice or blindly looking for answers in a Magic 8 Ball. E Source’s inaugural utility industry omnichannel study provides insights into the health and integration of eight communication channels and presents an overall omnichannel perspective informed by survey responses from residential customers, electric utilities, and gas utilities across North America. With a little bit of help from our trusty advisor the Magic 8 Ball, we’re making a few data-driven customer experience predictions that we gleaned from the data-rich E Source Omnichannel Survey 2015.
If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for books, magazines, online journals, and other resources to help deepen your knowledge of the ever-changing energy industry—without putting you to sleep. We’ve compiled a list of energy reads for history buffs, techies, entrepreneurs, humanitarians, and policy wonks. Whether you work in cleantech, electricity, or oil and gas, these resources should give you a broader perspective of the energy industry, without giving you the zzz’s. Happy reading!
Utilities are facing competition for customers’ business and looking for ways to increase customer engagement. To attract and retain customers, boost participation in programs, and improve customer satisfaction, several utilities are following in the footsteps of the retail industry and offering rewards programs for loyal customers. Learn how new and current customers are getting bill credits, gift cards, and airline miles for continued service or for completing energy-saving actions.
Valentine’s Day is around the corner and love is in the air on the utility social media scene! From the hilarious to the heartfelt, the following posts from across the industry capture the spirit of the holiday and in many cases the spirit of the brands.
Utility account management is in the midst of an important transformation that began a few years ago and will certainly continue in the near future. The shift was reflected at the Fall 2015 E Source Account Management Summit, where the dominant theme was how to move utility account management from a reactive stance of responding to customer inquiries and complaints to a forward-thinking, consultative approach led by proactive energy advisors. All of our data supports this broadening focus on Customer-Side Management.
The Nevada Public Utilities Commission’s (PUC’s) decision to cut net-metering rewards for solar customers—and increase fixed charges—has caused much controversy and chased most solar companies out of the state. So my question is: Are special rates for solar customers ever a good idea? With the exception of special low-income residential rates, most utilities create broad, nondiscriminatory residential rate classes in the name of customer equity. I think we should take a hard look at the implications of a new discriminatory rate for solar customers. And if we establish a new rate for solar customers, should we consider new rate classes for customers with other end-use technologies? What would be the likely impacts of rate redesign for customers and utilities?
When they’re creating innovative networking solutions, Cisco employees use techie jargon to talk to each other. But when they’re creating marketing materials, that language falls flat, confusing customers so profoundly that they don’t understand the company’s product offerings or how to use them. So Cisco transformed the way it communicates and saw disproportionately impressive results. Similarly verbose organizations—like utilities—can learn from Cisco by simplifying the language in their communications to connect with more customers, extend their outreach, and improve their brand presence.
In my new-hire orientation at a contact center, I was taught that people who fail quality checks fail out of the call center. Luckily, I passed my first quality check, due mostly to my ability to use the standard greeting, the customer’s name, and the correct closing, and to enter the customer’s information correctly in the system. Why, then, were my customers still unhappy? When I got to contact center management, I proposed that we start looking beyond process adherence and start including the customer’s perspective in our quality assurance process. The results were astounding. Many contact centers are now doing the same. Read how they’re doing it.