3 Ways for Utilities to Improve Engagement with the Millennial Head of Household
The time has come for Millennials to come of age, start their own families, and establish households. This new generation of energy consumers represents huge opportunities for utility companies to market their energy programs to the millennial head of household. In fact, survey findings by Cognizant and PennEnergy revealed that more than half of respondents (53.8%) believe millennials will be a priority customer demographic for utility customer service and engagement through the next two years.
According to the J.D. Power 2015 Consumer Engagement Study, millennials are more engaged with programs that allow them to take control of their energy usage. More so than any other generation, they utilize programs such as online energy calculators and social media tools that allow them to be hands-on. Millennials are also attracted to environmental programs such as solar electric incentives, much more so than Pre-Boomers and Boomers.
Digital and social channels are the preferred mode of communication for millennial consumers. They are more likely to engage with utility communications received via digital channels. According to the research, “Nearly twice as many [millennial] customers recall receiving email messages from their utility than do Boomers and Pre-Boomers, and more than nine times as many [millennial] customers recall receiving social media messages than do the two oldest generations.”
Engage Through Social Channels
Social media has become integral to creating multi-channel customer experiences, and many utility companies are beginning to use social media as their primary contact point. Especially in markets in which customers can choose their own power companies, utility companies who have implemented a strong social media presence have been able to reduce customer turnover by as much as 20 percent.
When engaging the millennial utility customer, social media is no longer an option. More than 84% of millennials are on social media sites and more than half of U.S. Twitter users are millennials. Utilities must have a strong social media presence to interact with this generation, as well as share updates on programs and incentives. Social media is also critical in reaching social followers during power outages as well as for providing energy savings tips, bill pay and other customer engagement services.
Create Informative Content
Millennials head to online sources for information. Content marketing provides a great avenue for a utility company to reach this generation with informative content and to develop an online reputation as a trustworthy brand – a trait millennials seek in companies they choose to do business with.
“Two of the four opportunities customers indicated that utilities must improve on to boost customer satisfaction revolve around communication, according to a research study by Accenture.
- Act as an energy advisor. Accenture reported that 81% of consumers surveyed indicated interest in purchasing energy-related products and services if their utility were to provide them information on how to save on their energy bill. Content marketing gets in front of this very issue by delivering high-quality content in a strategic manner that answers consumers’ questions. Millennials are certainly more engaged online than almost any other generation, which means content marketing is an ideal way to provide information about available programs, products and services that will assist with reducing energy use.
- Deliver a smarter experience. Another 87% of survey respondents indicated that once their utility provides them with a smart meter, they expected the utility to provide additional energy-related products of services suggestions. With targeted content marketing efforts, a utility company would be able to create communications offering Millennials more information about a subject matter or recommendations about products and services based on customer behavior.”
Promote Social Responsibility
Compared to older generations, millennials are more socially conscious, with 83% distrusting large corporations. They shop and buy products and services from entities that prioritize social causes that align with theirs, including the environment. Utility companies can leverage this mindset by creating:
- Outreach programs that engage customers
- Green marketing initiatives, such as energy efficiency programs and rebate opportunities
- Consumer oriented solutions, including home energy audits, weatherization tips and benefits of high efficiency appliances
- Mobile applications that show up-to-date energy use
The electricity sector is undergoing major changes with the emergence of new products and services, new market players and new business models. Utilities will need to adapt in many ways to keep up with the changing landscape. However one thing is for certain, utility companies who thrive in the coming years are the ones who will find ways to understand and meet the needs and preferences of the upcoming millennial customer.
Contact us to learn more about how the V12 Data Cloud allows clients to seamlessly integrate their own 1st party data and V12’s 3rd party data to find new audiences, manage existing customer relationships, and execute highly targeted, omni-channel campaigns.