Zpryme Trendz Volume V

Today, the average customer has the ability to determine what, where, and how they buy products with the majority of businesses they interact with. If customers’ experiences are not up to their expectations, they are always one click away from abandoning their shopping cart. They expect businesses to provide personalized experiences driven by their relevant preferences and recent interactions. The airline, retail, automotive and financial industries have learned these lessons faster than utilities and as a result are building customer journeys based on analytics to provide the right information, at the right time and in the right channel. Customer expectations for utilities will increasingly be based on their best experiences with companies, regardless of the business vertical.

A perfect example of the power real-time customer journey analytics give marketers in understanding their customers and creating meaningful engagement comes from the retail sector. After building an ideal customer journey by analyzing thousands of transactions, an online women’s clothier wanted to reduce the number of times a cart was abandoned. The key portion of the journey was from the first time a product was viewed and then added to the cart. The aggregate data shows how many people never complete the purchase.

It was here that the marketing team used this data to create a new inflection point to engage with potential customers who have showed intent without converting. The new point in the customer journey was an email sent within 24 hours containing an offer for that product.

By using real-time data about the journey, a simple email was able to create additional dialogue and convert an additional 315 customers. When data is applied to a larger population throughout the journey these types of insights open a multitude of additional opportunities to understand customers and influence their behavior.

Utility marketers, customer experience, and customer insight professionals need to ramp up their understanding of the most important journeys their customers are undertaking across channels as they interact with a business. Failing to do so opens the door for disruptive alternative energy technologies to further supplant utilities in the customer’s mind. Strategically prioritizing what residential and business customers want from an energy provider will allow utilities to thrive.

The next level of customer analytics

While some industries have a head start on utilities in prioritizing customer centricity, only leading edge companies have been able to deploy analytics to the entire customer journey. Marketers, customer experience, and IT professionals have looked at data in particular channels or around individual customer touchpoints. As a result, very few businesses in any industry have a complete picture of their customers.

A multi-industry McKinsey report found that “performance on journeys is substantially more strongly correlated with customer satisfaction than performance on touchpoints—and performance on journeys is significantly more strongly correlated with business outcomes such as revenue, churn, and repeat purchase.”

Source: McKinsey Company, McKinsey US cross-industry customer-experience survey, June-Oct 2015 data Coefficients are r2 values of a multiple-regression model predicting the outcome as a function of touchpoint satisfaction vs. journey satisfaction.

 

The opportunity for electric and gas utilities to focus on the entire end-to-end customer experience is clear. The customer journey is not a single touchpoint or interaction, but the collection of interactions in all channels over a period of time.

McKinsey found that companies that shift to developing a unified view of the customer journey as they interact with a brand see increased customer satisfaction, improved sales, and decreased service expenses. Currently, most utilities lack a 360-degree view or full context of their customers. The data is all there but AMI, web, mobile transactions, program adoption and call center data are too often siloed. Unifying that data will allow utilities to segment, market, and influence customer behavior, and with the rapid proliferation of connected IoT devices, there is an opportunity to understand the customer at every touch point in the journey. For a utility, this translates into greater adoption of everything from energy efficiency programs, paperless billing, mobile app adoption, and many other programs that can save money while simultaneously generating new revenue.

Real-time customer behavior analytics is essential to achieve this unified customer view. Gartner defines customer journey analytics as “the process of tracking and analyzing the way customers use combinations of channels to interact with an organization and covers all channels present and future which interface directly with customers.”

Customer journey analytics gives utilities a powerful tool to understand and engage with individual customers at a personal level, at scale. By analyzing millions of data points in real time, utilities can discover the most important inflection points in a customer journeys and prioritize those opportunities that significantly impact business goals. Utilities will then have the ability to increase engagement and revenue from DSM programs, lower customer support costs, better integrate distributed energy generation, and create dozens of other impactful connections with the customer. Ultimately these data-driven connections can transform utilities into customer-centric enterprises that thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Interested in finding out more about customer journey analytics? Is creating a 360-degree view of the customer an important strategic objective at your utility? Is your utility struggling to crack the code of connecting with customers? Zpryme wants to have these conversations with you. Over the next few months we will be exploring the intersection of brand, customer programs, technology, analytics, and customer engagement. We want to hear your opinion. Reach out to our team: christopher.moyer@zpryme.com, seyi.fabode@zpryme.com or jason.rodriguez@zpryme.com.

A big thanks to everyone who has reached out over the first few weeks. As always keep your comments, ideas, and questions coming.

Till next week.