When it comes to creating an effective utility customer engagement platform, motivating people to take an interest in their own energy use is clearly essential. One of the most effective ways to do this is to leverage the natural human interest in competitive social interaction, transforming utility customer data into a game that people can play in competition with their friends and neighbors to save the most energy. As demonstrated by the results of a recent energy efficiency pilot program in San Diego, this approach to customer engagement is highly effective.
In the San Diego program, one group of participants used energy efficiency devices without a social gaming component, while another group was given the opportunity to use the devices in addition to competing with their friends and neighbors for energy efficiency results. The improvement in energy savings was dramatic: average savings for the San Diego participants who used the social gaming app was 20 percent, compared with 9 percent for those who used the devices alone.
Clearly, the ability to more than double the effectiveness of a customer engagement platform is an excellent outcome for utilities interested in supporting a variety of goals, from energy efficiency to demand response and smart grid rollout. Describing the results of the San Diego pilot, the Director of Customer Programs said it was “a great example of the creative ways that we can facilitate a higher level of engagement with customers and demonstrate how technology can leverage smart meter data, providing real benefits.”
Engaging with customers through leveraging online social interaction is becoming increasingly popular across a variety of industries, but it can work especially well for the energy industry as utility customers may be motivated to save energy by environmental concerns in addition to the possibility of an extra reward. In a recent article about online marketing, the author urges companies to “have rewards that help the environment or people in need. SimpleEnergy is doing this by encouraging people to use less energy while competing with friends and family. Simply knowing you’re saving more energy than last month (or more than your friends) feels like a reward in itself.”
The future of effective utility customer engagement clearly involves the ability to leverage online social interaction as a motivational tool for customers, inspiring them to taken an interest in their own energy use. Contact us today for more information as your utility makes the transformation to improved customer engagement.