Opower, a customer engagement specialist company, have released research that suggest that energy customers do not feel engaged with their energy company. Most customers stated that the only interaction that they have with their energy company is when their bill arrives in the post.
This new study suggested that, despite efforts on the part of the energy companies for frequent correspondence, suppliers are still failing to connect with their customers properly. Opower suggest that customers do not necessarily want more contact and instead care more about a higher quality of contact when important matters need to be addressed.
The research identified certain key times, during which consumers wanted better communication with their provider, such as when they are moving house or have received a high energy bill. However this is when most customers felt that energy companies were the worst at engaging properly with their users.
According to the survey 73% of energy users, who had received a larger bill than normal, said that it came as a shock. Around 71% stated that it had caused them to feel nervous about their financial situation. A further 61% said that they wanted to change their energy suppliers after receiving a surprisingly high bill. Just over 80% of people thought that gas and electricity companies should notify users in advance when they are set to receive an abnormally high bill.
It is vital that these companies take on the concerns of these customers, evidence from the research suggests that people who find their bill easy to understand are less than 50% as likely to switch supplier. This is the same for customers who feel that they receive good advice and effective communication with their provider.
“Most customers think about their energy provider for just a few minutes each year,” said John Webster at Opower. “But if you listen to customers, it’s clear the solution lies not in telling them about great service provided or creating new reasons to contact them, but by making the customer experience better during the existing moments that are most important to them.”