Opower, a company that helps utilities with customer engagement, conducted a survey, expecting to find that customers around the globe are different – that they want different things from their utility providers and care about unique products and services – but its research found just the opposite.
Opower’s new white paper Five Universal Truths of the Energy Consumer is based on 14,000 surveys and interviews in 12 countries over a two year period (2011 – 2013). Its key finding is that there are striking similarities in the desires and expectations of utility customers across the globe. This underlying similarity is distilled into five universal truths that Opower found to be consistently true for utility customers, irrespective of geography, culture, regulatory environment, or usage profile.
- Truth 1: Utilities are not meeting customer expectations
- Truth 2: Everyone wants lower bills
- Truth 3: People look to utilities for energy information
- Truth 4: Customers value personalized energy insights
- Truth 5: Everyone wants to know how they measure up
Perhaps not surprisingly, cost is a key area of dissatisfaction, hence Truth #2. What is surprising is that actual energy costs are not predictive of customer satisfaction with those costs. Opower’s analysis shows no clear relationship between cost and customer perception of cost. So, countries exhibiting quite low electricity costs (by international standards), may have high levels of dissatisfaction regarding cost and vice versa. Actual costs are less important than whether customers feel they are getting good value from their utility.
Opower‘s engagement platform, Opower 4, enables utilities to involve their customers in programs that support energy efficiency goals, smart grid and new rate structures, brand loyalty and lowering the cost of service.