22 July 2019
As you know, the government is planning to put an energy smart meter in every household in the UK by 2020. That’s an amazing 26 million units.
While the reasoning behind this is sound (i.e. helping customers to use less energy, and the environmental impact of energy usage), it does pose some problems. Most notably, letting customers know about the benefits of using such a device.
What’s the challenge?
Finding the right balance of communication frequency and relevance is going to be key to getting customers to engage with the process. Too little information and customers will be wondering what the strange little box does, and why they need it. Too much information will only serve to wastefully increase your communication costs and disengage audiences.
One approach to getting this right is by measuring each customer interaction with the messages sent, allowing you to change the frequency and content as needed.
Fortunately, there’s a variety of options available for digital engagement to best fit your target demographics. For simple and cost-effective messaging, SMS provides a great way to shout about smart meters (benefitting from a 95% open rate and not requiring a smartphone to receive), while automated email provides a more effective way to send more visual based messages with attachments.
The next generation of digital messaging should also be strongly considered too, with the likes of WhatsApp and RCS allowing customers to access a host of tools like rich cards, video support, and carousels – all of which offer educational facilities to customers without having to leave their native messaging application.
What does a digital marketing strategy for smart meter rollout look like?
It’s likely that your first communication will let your customers know about the smart meter rollout, and why it’s happening. Using a multichannel approach, you can send this message out via an inexpensive channel such as email, and use standard reporting analytics to determine delivered and open rates.
If the message wasn’t delivered, or was delivered but unopened, you can switch to an alternative channel such as SMS to send your message, and similarly track these key metrics to determine who (if anyone) needs a third channel such as an automated voice call.
Cleverly, multichannel customer journeys like this can now be completely automated, so you can plug your CRM data in at the start, and a ‘decision engine’ will determine the best initial and subsequent channel for each customer.
26 million smart meters also means 26 million home installations have to be arranged
As well as the need to communicate smart meter benefits to customers, finding the best way to arrange for units to be installed must also be considered.
Again, targeting customers’ mobile devices, where we spend most of our time, is the most efficient mechanism in your toolset. Mobile web forms and RCS are particularly helpful here, as data including preferred date and time can be quickly and automatically gathered, and then fed straight back into a central management system.
An SMS could then be sent to the customer to confirm the appointment, or, if using RCS or an SMS Landing Page, an appointment can be added to the device’s in-built calendar with the touch of a button.
Both mobile web forms and RCS also lend themselves very well to being able to re-schedule appointments. This means that expensive missed appointments can be avoided in an automated way.
What if your customers aren’t all digitally savvy?
Digital marketing is great, but respect has to also be paid to demographics who aren’t all that digitally savvy. For instance, 91% of 25-34 year olds are smartphone owners, but this drops to 42% for 55-64 year olds. This is where an automated outbound dialing strategy can help.
In this scenario, the customer would receive an automated call from the energy provider without the need for a call center agent. The call would explain the purpose of the engineer’s visit, and then provide a series of key-pad selectable options regarding available time slots for the visit.
Can we help?
Esendex are experts in providing various types of intelligent workflows for the utilities sector ranging from marketing communications and customer service automations all the way through to debt collection. In fact we’re so good at it, we just became award winners!
If you’re interested in knowing more about how we can help you design, develop and implement your smart meter roll out, please don’t hesitate to contact our team on 0345 356 5758 or at email@example.com.