KNOXVILLE, Tenn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Almost 30 percent of Americans would leave their utility if they could, according to Shelton Group’s 10th annual Energy Pulse™ study. And of those, fully 64 percent would choose a non-utility alternative like SolarCity, Google or Comcast.
These numbers show that Americans are more open than ever to alternate ways of acquiring energy, and whether that’s a challenge or an opportunity depends on your point of view. And whether utilities and manufacturers survive this seismic shift in the energy landscape depends on their ability to adopt smart, proactive strategies to engage their customers.
“Utilities can no longer assume that they ‘own’ the residential energy space,” said Suzanne Shelton, CEO of Shelton Group, “especially with Millennials and minorities. The threat is not that these customers particularly dislike their utilities, it’s that they’re not at all loyal to them and are very comfortable with the idea of shopping around for other alternatives.”
So what can utilities do? The answer lies in building better customer relationships, particularly by providing attractive packages that bundle home energy control options and make energy efficiency automatic. The study found Americans clearly want manufacturers, builders and utilities to take care of energy efficiency for them. Seventy-one percent want to buy already-efficient homes and 58 percent want to live in already-efficient apartment even though propensity to make energy-efficient improvements themselves is actually down.
“A lot of utilities focus on improving their customer satisfaction scores, but the business problem they need to address is loyalty,” said Shelton. “If utilities shift their focus to creating loyalty through engagement and personalization, customer satisfaction scores take care of themselves.”
Energy Pulse polls American consumers to track shifts in their attitudes, purchases and behaviors related to energy. For more information about the study, go to www.sheltongrp.com/energy-pulse-2014/.
For more information about Shelton Group, visit www.sheltongrp.com.