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New Uplight Customer Research: What Drives Energy Action?

By Crystal Leaver on

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Uplight’s utility customer primary research series continues with focus groups! Last year, Uplight conducted our first nation-wide survey of utility customers, finding that personalization is paramount as it results in higher customer trust, engagement, and satisfaction. We also found that customers don’t feel like their utility’s energy saving resources are relevant to them. And for the customers who are aware of these offers, many aren’t taking action–leaving us to wonder, “Why aren’t customers aware of these offers, and what inspires the ones who are aware to take action?” 

Uplight followed up with eight focus groups to explore engagement and satisfaction across three important customer differentiators: engagement level, income, and technology adoption. 

Here is what a few customers had to say. 

They send me a bill, I send them money. The notion that someone would communicate with the utility for some other reason is not within my reality.

Many customers associate utility communications solely with billing and outages, not energy savings. In fact, many customers don’t even consider their utility would want them to save energy. 

Down here in South Florida they have a budget billing system. I keep an eye on the bill amount just to make sure nothing is leaking or wasting.

While our survey found that 48% percent of customers are more distracted and check their energy usage less due to the pandemic, the focus group found that low to moderate income (LMI) customers kept close tabs on their bill and paid attention to energy saving tips, especially if they were enrolled in budget billing.

I got an insert about saving energy on insulation. They came to my house and did an inspection and gave me a lot of things, lightbulbs, a sexy thermostat. They should be coming to insulate my home in the next month. I hope that saves me some money. I was surprised, I’m shocked. 

After customers took the first step and received energy saving products or offers, often free, they were “pleasantly surprised.” But they often had to take time to search them out, and almost felt like it was too good to be true. 

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