Save energy on your smart meter 2020 rolloutTopic: Utilities
If the government gets its way, 26 million smart meters – that’s one per household – should be installed by 2020.
The reasoning is sound: by fitting a smart meter, we’ll all be more mindful of, and likely more frugal with our energy usage, helping to protect the environment and save costs.
Great for consumers, but what does this mean for suppliers?
The key to all of this is keeping consumers informed. Too little information and your customers will be wondering what it is and why they need it; too much information will rack up your communication costs, and potentially disengage your customers.
How do you get the balance right? By measuring each customer’s level of interest in each message you put out. This can’t be easily or affordably achieved via paper-based communications, so we’d advocate a digital approach.
Digital covers a variety of channels: email, SMS, Facebook Messenger – even calls to landlines can be measured and managed.
So your first communication to send is to 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 or a Facebook Messenger prompt.
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.
The logistics of organising 26 million home visits…
Energy suppliers will also have to think about what will happen when the time comes to install the smart meter into the customer’s home.
The logistics of booking appointments with 26 million homeowners hardly bears thinking about – but think about it we must. Fortunately digital channels coupled with intelligent automations are ready to take the strain.
The process might start by sending an SMS, email or social media link to an energy customer which tells them that an engineer would like to come and fit their new smart meter.
The message would also contain a link to a personalised mobile form, allowing the customer to book the time that they would like the engineer to call.
Rather than going through the pain and expense of missed appointments, a text message and/or email can remind the customer about the upcoming appointment, and include a link to the same mobile form allowing them to reschedule if necessary.
What if your customers aren’t all digitally savvy?
So far so good *if* your customer base is overwhelmingly smartphone owners: that’s 91% of 25-34 year olds, and 83% of 35-54 year olds. But it drops sharply to just 42% of 55-64 year olds, and that’s where an outbound voice system comes into its own.
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.
In a tightly contested energy market, understanding whether you’re meeting your customers’ expectations is critical, and an automated survey sent via SMS or email directly after the visit can achieve just that goal.
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 protected].