“The future always is and always was the simple decisions we make today.” -Step up and Power Down California
At this week’s ACEEE Market Transformation conference, we met with people across the industry and one thing is clear: the title of this conference does not need to change for a long time… We are, indeed, in the middle of a transformation and still have a long way to go.
Here are two moments that specifically struck me:
#1: You will lose people at every point in the journey.
This reality is tough. No matter who you are or what you’re offering, you will lose customers through the process of purchase or sign up.
Another reality for you… Many of the barriers aren’t new. Most just haven’t been solved for yet. Top barriers include:
- Where do I find that?: It’s too hard for customers to find the right information or a clear roadmap to the solutions they need to undertake. (This is generally true for those who even understand they have an efficiency issue.)
- How much will that cost?!: The fear of upfront cost is still a real barrier to participation. Rebate or not. It all just sounds expensive. And unfortunately that anticipated cost outweighs the benefits that customers are aware of.
- Who has time for that?: Outside of the cost, customers fear the process. Their expectation is that upgrades, improvements and rebates will take so It will be difficult and painful. Without setting an expectation here, customers will always choose to spend their time on the things they want to do, versus the things they should do. Cost in dollars matter, but cost in time and aggravation matter just as much, if not more.
- No reason at all… There are also people in this journey who drop out for reasons you cannot control. Their computer died. Their child started throwing a tantrum while reading about Home Energy Audits. (Insert naptime, not scheduling an in-home assessment.) They’re running late to a meeting, so they put the product in their online cart… And then forget about it. Life just gets in the way.
How do we get around these barriers to keep LESS customers from dropping out? This is the goal.
- Set Better Expectations: Customers will always think the worst of you, unless you prove them wrong. Be clear about costs and timing. You cannot expect a customer to participate in a process they don’t understand with a product they’ve never used. It’s kind of like expecting a teenager to come home early if he doesn’t have a curfew… No. Can. Do.
- Invest in the Customer Experience: It’s 2016. Experience is everything. People are more and more accustomed to the Amazon experience. A model built around – “How can we make it as easy as possible for our customers to do business with us?” With Amazon and Apple, customers always know where and how to find the information or products they’re seeking. They have perfected an easy and intuitive user experience. Fewer steps. Ease. Intuitive experience. Never let “it took too long” or “I didn’t know what to do” get in your way.
- Build Desire: People will always choose to spend their time on the things they want to do or want to buy, versus the things they should If you don’t get customers truly interested, then none of the programs, products or offerings matter down the line. Too often in this industry, we see solutions being marketed on “what to do” but not “why you should do it.” Answering the why will build loyalty and trust.
- Follow up: Life is going to get in the way. (And some would say that is the beauty of everything.) So, it is up to you to remind customers of the very thing they saw value in before the device powered down or the tantrum hit a 10 or the clock struck… I’m late.
#2: The most successful transformation is one the customer doesn’t even know about.
How do you create an experience so seamless and intuitive that customers are not thinking through all of the questions asked above?
Real transformation happens when we take off the guard rails and meet the needs of customers before they even demand it.
For instance, the Secretary of the PA PUC spoke about pushing energy efficiency and renewables to scale, and said there are several ways, but more rebates are not it. His point was that for energy efficiency to be successful at scale, we have to make it worth more than a coupon for a lower energy bill.
So how do you get there? How do you become truly relevant to your customers?
That’s where we come in. Let’s get started.
Interested in talking more about the energy consumer or the connected home? Interested in our latest research based insights? Get in touch!
Lauren Bell / Engagement Manager / email@example.com / 212.366.4000