Updated on 21/12/2022
Online utilities services are changing fast. Traditional marketing in the utilities sector such as mail-based flyers and cold-call offers will soon be a thing of the past. The digital world demands rapid changes in both technology and ways of doing business, putting customers front and center for every aspect of a firm’s strategy, and using new channels of communication, like Doxee PVideo®.
Flyers in mailboxes. Annoying and insistent calls from the operators of the most unlikely call centers that offer offers for electricity, gas, water, internet, telephony.
And then bills from reading incomprehensible, payment and assistance services complicated and impersonal, toll free numbers and switchboards where you stay for whole quarters of an hour listening to jingles “waiting to talk to an operator”. This is about to be put up in the attic forever.
The digital revolution has also invested in the utility sector, and the most innovative companies in the sector have realized this perfectly. They understood that the new digital world poses new challenges that can no longer be postponed, that there is a need to take great care of the brand identity and that the individual customer – with his individual needs – must be put at the center of everything.
Rethinking Brand Image
Utilities and energy companies once considered price as the only point of competition. Users were considered as simple receivers of a service, with safety and reliability of the service the primary concern.
Today, online utilities services have a very different value proposition. The focus has moved to sustainability, the environment, transparency, and attention to every single consumer. As marketers, these are the same themes that should be top of mind in your content creation strategy.
It is a real change of paradigm, which reflects, in turn, a change of mentality of public opinion (therefore the audience of possible customers to win or those to keep loyal), to which it is no longer enough to have, for example, simple online payment services, but want to get information about the origin of energy.
According to this Lifegate survey, 74% of Italians believe that sustainability is one of the most relevant elements in daily life choices, a 15% increase over the previous year. This trend is not just specific to Italy, it’s global.
For example, as this Enervee survey on British consumers shows, 90% of respondents take efficiency and sustainability into account when choosing an energy provider. More importantly for marketers, 80% said that the provider itself has a crucial role in influencing their decisions on energy consumption.
Customers today are more informed and more demanding. They now have a wide range of options and information to consult, something once unthinkable in the energy sector. The consequence is clear: energy companies must be able to capture the attention of consumers in a market where competitive pressures are higher than ever before. Brands will need to incorporate this in their communications with potential customers. Modern digital marketing strategies can help.
Online utilities services today: The importance of Customer Experience
A good marketer knows the importance of Customer Experience (CX) and understands that customer care is expected to be personal, not generic.
This report from Jaywing highlights some interesting aspects of commodity markets: 73% of Utilities and Telco companies place customer care as a priority for their data-driven marketing. They report 68% customer retention, a higher percentage than other sectors (56%).
The importance of CX is relevant; because it’s easy for customers to change providers, loyalty cannot be taken for granted. A Harvard Business Review research highlights the importance of a positive customer experience: only 43% of users who have a negative experience with a company will remain customers the following year.
Instead, 74% of users who have a positive opinion of the company will keep the contract: a tremendous gap! It’s clear that good CX is critical for every sector.
“Customer service is a key differentiator,” declared Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service. “Investing in a robust customer service strategy not only improves levels of satisfaction in your customer base but it also tangibly impacts the bottom line.”
There is a documented relationship between high levels of customer satisfaction and customer trust. Keep customers happy by meeting their expectations and delivering on promises, and you will gain their trust in return.
Loyalty may eventually transform your customers into agents and promoters for your business. The health of your businesses depends on these connections, as they are at the heart of any business’s long-term survival.
Who is the customer? The importance of data in online utilities services
Making an ally of customers requires a deep understanding of who they are. This is what marketers want to know above all else. Knowing your target is the first step to creating an effective engagement strategy, the only way to effectively persuade the customer and build a long-lasting relationship.
To understand “who is our customer?” marketers turn to modern technologies for the answer. The massive amount of data collected by firms and marketing departments can be your greatest source of accurate and detailed insights on customers.
The key is being able to effectively interpret that data and to be able to segment those customers, enabling the creation of targeted marketing campaigns based on the needs of those groups. However, segmentation doesn’t go far enough. There is a need for marketers to take a one-to-one approach to reach customers.
Boston Consulting Group reported that brands who create a personalized experience for customers are seeing up to 10% revenue increase that is two to three times faster than competitors who do not personalize.
Marketers are recognizing the effectiveness of personalized videos for their strategies, using it to build an intimate relationship with customers. Even utilities and energy companies are beginning to communicate with their prospects and customers using videos in their online services.
Conversion rate, engagement, loyalty, and ROI are just some of the ways that Utilities, Energy, and Telco companies will benefit from adopting a personalization strategy.
Personalization strategy: Strength in numbers
79% of the businesses exceeding revenue expectations have a documented personalization strategy (source: Monetate report). 75% of consumers are more willing to buy a company’s products if you present purchase options based on their previous choices (source: Accenture). They feel part of an authentic relationship when you remember them and when you incorporate their tastes and habits into your messages. 78% of Chief Marketing Officers believe that customized offers are the future of their sector (source: Clicz).
These numbers show why Forbes defines personalized videos as “the marketing breakthrough that brands need.”While companies in utilities and telecommunications are embracing modern techniques in their online utilities services, there is still room for improvement. Through 2017, 43% were not using multichannel personalization for their marketing efforts.
In this scenario, the opportunities for innovation are many and businesses need only look to other sectors for evidence of its success.