How to Harvest Happy Consumers

Posted on Jan 23, 2019


Wouldn’t it be nice if every consumer loved you?

Every year Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, the national brand for electric co-ops, surveys electric co-op members across the country to find ways to boost satisfaction.

Based on the American Customer Satisfaction Index, public power consumers 24 and younger and 55 and older are more satisfied with their service. Why is there a satisfaction drop for 25 to 54 year olds?

It’s not all about you. People without children are happier.

A mom with her young daughter.

My toddler, Maggie, leaves me laughing most days. But she also adds to our energy bill.

As the mom of a toddler, this fact threw me for a loop—until I realized WHY having kids impacts your happiness. Obviously, I love my daughter. But adding a human to the house means more (so much more) laundry, extra dishes to clean, and bath after bath after bath. It adds up.

Children are not the only member satisfaction predictor. The great folks at Touchstone Energy identified several factors, including:

  • Length of Service: Brand new members (less than five years) and people who have been with you for more than 20 years are happier.
  • Energy Cost: A monthly energy bill of $200 or more sparks a dramatic satisfaction drop.
  • Words Matter: People with a public power identity are more satisfied than people who think of themselves as customers. This is one of the driving factors behind the More Powerful Together campaign.

 

Happy Communication Tips

To boost satisfaction, four actions ring true with consumers:

  • Share your goal of providing energy at the lowest possible cost.
  • Ease rising energy costs and talk about how you’re doing it.
  • Focus on community engagement.
  • Help members manage energy costs.

When consumers list the most important things a co-op should discuss with them, cost/rates ranked number one, followed closely by reducing bills. PRO TIP: Using the phrase ”saving energy” was not as popular.

Want other ways to harvest happy consumers? Be proactive with on-bill energy-efficiency financing. Make account access easy. Connect the dots. You know weather impacts bills, but do consumers? Provide high bill alerts, and tell consumers about planned outages.

It seems simple when you look at it from your consumers’ point of view. Be honest and helpful. Parents have enough to worry about. Make managing energy as easy and seamless as possible.

We cover all of this and more in our video tutorial: How to Harvest Happy Members.

This is the first of two videos on boosting consumer satisfaction. Next week, we will share best practices from two utilities.

How are you harvesting happy consumers? Add your ideas in our comments section, or send them to meganm@ruralite.org.

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