Meeting Customer Expectation Isn't Enough Anymore...

Posted by Lauren Bell on February 11, 2016 at 9:29 AM

the customer experienceWhat do you do for your customers? What do you provide?

Maybe you develop products people need, like light bulbs, appliances or home technology. Maybe you power the ability for customers to use these products, turning the lights on and heating their homes – living the life they know.

Regardless of the job and the brilliant engineering that goes into it, what you do, or what you provide is not necessarily what the customer values.

They don’t value the “pipes and wires” if you will.

Think about it.

What service that we pay for, as consumers, do any of us really value? If we pay for it, it’s an expectation. Of course it better work. (Of course the lights better turn on!)

Think about your cell phone provider.

Do you really value them? Or do you value that your kids (who will never monitor their usage) can text unlimited?

Think about your cable provider.

Do you really value them? Or do you value the inspiration you get from HGTV? Or being able to watch your college basketball team, even though you’re no longer in the local area? (Or in my case, the marital peace that recording more than two shows at once brings…)

As consumers, we value when things exceed our expectation.

So, in a world of overwhelming choice, how do you become valuable to your customer? Especially on a topic like energy?

We’re constantly on the road talking to customers about their relationship with energy, energy efficiency, products and providers. One thing rings loud and clear: when it comes to utility customers, they don’t feel personally valued. See some of the highlights here: Customer Video.

Customers are used to working with companies like Amazon, whose business model is built around one single question: “how can we make it easier for customers to do business with us?” They leverage the right buying and purchase behaviors and data to provide their customers with personalized and relevant recommendations.

At the AESP conference last week (See: Key Themes from AESP: The Customer), we discussed this a lot. It’s possibility. How to get there.

A customer-centric and personalized approach to your business and outreach is what people will value. It will exceed their expectation.

#1 – Find the right partners who can help you leverage the data you have.

Bring these partners together. Insist on collaboration. Each of them holds a different piece to the puzzle, allowing you to be as relevant and personalized as possible when engaging with customers.

#2 – Dedicate yourself to understanding the holistic customer experience. And most likely… making some significant changes. Think like Amazon. What would they do?

#3 – Remember that every customer touch point can affect brand affinity. Whether DSM or brand awareness, it’s all the same to the customer. And you have to get it right. Every time.

Back to Amazon for a moment.

We’re all familiar with the way they ingeniously cross-sell products, most of which, the customer has not even thought about… but will likely need. They make sure that if you buy the fire truck, you won’t forget the batteries. They’re not trying to sell you the batteries until you need them. This is VALUE.

So, what would an Amazon of this industry look like?

Let’s get started.

Lauren Bell / Senior Engagement Strategist / 212.366.4000 /

Topics: Customer-Centric Marketing, Utility Communications, Energy Efficiency, Research