Municipal utilities that engage digitally with their customers throughout the year boost customer satisfaction and financial results, explained Apogee Interactive’s Chief Financial Officer, Jim Malcom, and Ellen Richardson, formerly of ElectriCities of Georgia, during a recent industry conference. In a presentation for the American Public Power Association’s 2020 Business and Financial Virtual Conference, Malcom and Richardson emphasized the importance of not limiting customer communications to times of outage or crisis. Happy customers, they said, are more likely to participate in programs, buy more services, and are more cost-efficient to serve. Satisfied customers are less likely to adopt disruptive technologies like rooftop solar rather than support community solar projects sponsored by the utility.
Personalized Messaging Improves Financial Performance
According to Malcom, “Apogee conducted an analysis to examine how J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Scores and Operating Margins relate. The analysis determined that, with a 95% degree of confidence, there is a statistically significant positive correlation between the two. In other words, as customer satisfaction increases, so does operating margin.”
A major midwestern investor-owned utility deployed Apogee’s outbound communication suite of applications known as “Envoy” or Personalized Video Messaging. The utility surveyed customers to assess how Apogee’s proactive video messaging affected their customers’ perception of the utility. Early survey results from a general population of customers produced a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 18. With subsequent messaging, this score increased to 32. Interestingly, the NPS among low-income customers was much higher at 39. We have seen NPSs at some utilities achieve the 60s. All these numbers are well above the industry’s average NPS of 15.
Malcom added, “Utilities that focus on improving customer satisfaction are seeing higher scores, better financial performance, more favorable legislative outcomes, and improved revenue growth.” Adding, “There is a clear message here. Investing in customer experience brings significant rewards like reducing costs from calls to the call center, increasing program participation, and reducing tension with intervenors. Apogee helps utilities achieve these results cost-effectively.”
Apogee Interactive, Inc. is a privately held, woman-owned business and one of the nation’s leading full-service provider of proactive customer engagement SaaS provider for energy utilities. As the Hometown Connections partner for customer engagement, Apogee’s digital engagement platform delivers proactive, targeted, relevant, and personalized communication for hundreds of North American utilities, including some of the largest and most progressive, such as Southern Company, ConEd, LADWP, and Jackson EMC. For more information, visit www.apogee.net or on LinkedIn. Or contact Karen Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.