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Table Takeaways: The building blocks of successful business customer engagement

By Lindsey Meehan on

This post was originally published on FirstFuel’s website. FirstFuel is now Uplight.

“There’s an inherent fear that every customer is different, so how can you create something unique for each out of [the] plethora you have?”
– Utility Executive

According to a recent Navigant study, 52% of utility executives name ‘increasing customer satisfaction/NPS’ as their top customer service business goal; but, their confidence in their organization’s capabilities to deliver on this goal is low – varying from 6% to 24%.

To bridge this capabilities gap, utility executives are deploying three near-term investment strategies: AMI data, digital platforms, and business customer segmentation. With this trio, utilities aim to deliver a better business customer experience by enabling personalization across their customer touchpoints, self-service portals, and service interactions.

The key building blocks

Many utilities recognize that energy use data is becoming an increasingly important customer engagement output – today’s business customers want more information on how they’re using energy, along with recommendations on how to optimize. And, they want this information to be personalized. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) may be the answer. These ‘smart meters’ deliver data that, when combined with data analytics and customer intelligence, can be used to deliver personalized energy insights across an entire business customer base.

To harness the power of AMI data, utilities are investing in digital platforms that enable them to deliver the personalized cross-channel experiences that today’s business customers demand. With a digital platform, utilities can transform meter data into actionable insights that can be used for everything from improving digital communications and self-serve capabilities to equipping account management and service teams with the insights they need to better serve customers.

Finally, utilities are exploring segmentations strategies as a key short-term focus. To improve customer relationships (and boost customer satisfaction), utilities must first understand who their customers are, and then tailor their communications based on that knowledge. By analyzing and segmenting customers based on their behaviors and characteristics, utilities can provide customers with business-specific information, such as recommending that a convenience store update their outdated refrigeration system.

Data, digital platforms, and segmentation are key building blocks of an effective SMB engagement strategy. Together, they can help utilities create a winning situation for everyone involved, from internal teams to the end customer.

In December 2016, FirstFuel convened a series of Utility Executive Roundtables on Business Customer Engagement. Comprised of five discussions attended by senior executives representing 23 utilities, industry experts, and leads from J.D. Power’s Utility arm, the Roundtables spurred lively and robust dialogues on the future of business customer engagement. This blog is the final in our series highlighting insights from the conversations. Read the other blogs in our series below:

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