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November 24, 2015

Journey Mapping for Demand-Side Management Programs

Rachel Reiss Buckley

Customer experience (CX) is becoming an imperative utility focus as distributed generation, storage, home energy management, and other innovations compete for customers. With high expectations and a bevy of choices, today’s utility customers are discerning—and they have options. They can manually manage their energy use, download outside-industry apps to monitor their energy usage, or enroll in your utility’s home energy management program. The choice they make often depends on the experience they have with your organization.

Managing CX well requires a number of tools and tactics—such as personas, segmentation, journey mapping, and experience design—many of which directly apply to the design, implementation, and management of demand-side management (DSM) programs. Rather than looking at CX from a functional and transactional perspective, leading utilities are taking a view that truly seeks to understand and empathize with customers.

Benefits of Journey-Mapping Your DSM Programs

Although utilities have traditionally used journey mapping for customer service–related transactions, more of them are now using this tool across the organization, in particular applying it to DSM programs and initiatives where thousands of customer interactions occur each month.

By journey-mapping DSM programs, utilities can:

  • Gain external perspectives on program requirements and processes
  • Identify program attributes that contribute to positive customer experiences
  • Call out customer pain points to inform program improvements
  • Ensure cost-effective program design by identifying gaps with customer expectations
  • Increase program enrollment and participation by aligning programs with customer needs
  • Align organizational CX initiatives with DSM initiatives

Journey Mapping Explained

Journey mapping is a method for mapping, analyzing, and visualizing how a customer engages with your utility’s products, services, online experiences, trade allies, marketing efforts, and other channels. A customer journey map is one of the most powerful tools a company can use to understand how its customers experience the organization. Executed properly, journey maps not only capture the journey a customer goes through as they interact with a company, but also help the company identify critical customer touchpoints and better understand customers’ emotional perceptions of the organization.

Steps to Creating a DSM Journey Map

Journey mapping can help utilities identify opportunities for improvement within DSM programs via a four-step process. First, identify a specific program to map. Second, select at least two personas to map from their perspective. Third, through a journey-mapping workshop, collect all the touchpoints along the customer journey that occur before, during, and after program participation. Finally, add the human-side attributes, such as emotion and other voice-of-the-customer data.

Learn More at Our Free Webinar

Because journey-mapping to improve CX is such a valuable tool to guide the design of successful DSM programs, we’re hosting a free web conference on December 7 during which we’ll take a deep dive into journey mapping and explain how it can be applied to your DSM portfolios. Learn more and register today.

About the Author

Rachel Reiss Buckley

Rachel Reiss Buckley


Rachel Reiss Buckley works with industry partners to bring new tools and information resources to E Source members. Rachel manages new product launch activities, provides members with training and product support, and works cross-functionally to create road maps for future customer value. She is a subject-matter expert in journey mapping, smart thermostats, demand response, DSM programs, and energy-efficiency standards. Rachel has an MS in energy policy from the University of Colorado at Boulder and a BA in political science and environmental studies from Colgate University.

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Contributing Authors

Senior Director, Efficiency Solutions

Rachel Reiss Buckley is responsible for working with industry partners to bring new tools and resources to E Source members. Rachel manages new product launch activities, provides members with training and product support, and works cross-functionally to create roadmaps for future customer value. She is also an expert in smart thermostats, DR, DSM programs, and energy-efficiency standards.