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Taking a circular approach to utility customer relations: In conversation with Claire Gotham

Times are changing for the energy and utility industries. Data quality, customer engagement, and other areas are all far different from the way they were just a few short years ago. Among the biggest areas for change, though, is the way energy suppliers and their customers interact. In our recent episode of the Plugged In podcast, we talked about these changes and challenges with Claire Gotham, Managing Director for Power and Utilities at Proactivity.

Listen to the episode here

or read the an excerpt below:

The customer experience is circular, not linear

The linear approach to dealing with customers that energy companies used in the past has changed, and now the approach is much more circular. The circle rotates around a single point, with that point being the customer. Customer expectations are part of the reason for the change, but they certainly aren’t the only reason. There are multiple issues at play when it comes to why the energy and utility industries determined it was time to do things differently.

There Are Many Facets of Much-Needed Change

Deregulation, combined with the shifting perspectives and a better informed customer base has played a big role in the changes. Some believe that the customer is more knowledgeable now due to deregulation, and others believe that deregulation was a direct result of the increase in customer knowledge. Either way, utility companies need to react accordingly!

Changing weather is another facet of the journey energy companies have been on in more recent years. Extreme weather events that used to happen once every 100 years are happening every 5 or 10 years now, and that’s forcing energy companies to refocus how they do business and what they’re offering to their customers.

The Entire Culture of the Industry is Adjusting

Traditionally, energy companies essentially dictated what customers received and how much they paid for those services. That was the linear approach, and utility companies were used to calling the shots. Now, though, times have changed to the point that customers in many areas of the country have options. They can choose from several energy providers, and they’re selecting providers who have good rates and offer quality service.

Because of that, the utility companies are finding that they aren’t as “in charge” as they were. They’re having to model their business around their customers now, instead of just creating a business and forcing their customers to fit a necessary mold. Leaders in the energy industry are embracing this change, and adapting their companies for continued success.

Investments In New Technology Are Changing the Game

Technology is a huge part of the changes the utility industry is undertaking. Customers want more green and sustainable options, and energy companies that want to remain successful must provide these. Full change will take time, but the more receptive company leaders are to those changes, the faster and more easily the changes can take place.

With the use of technology to fuel knowledge and communication, energy companies can bring in more customers. These companies can also show customers that they’re important to them, and that it’s possible to get what customers want and need from their energy providers, both now and in the long term.

This is a condensed version of all the great information Claire Gotham provided about the changes in the utility industry. For the full scoop, check out the podcast episode.