It is well documented that the vast majority of interactions that customers have with their utility are related to the customer’s bill or establishing/discontinuing service. However, a new customer journey is emerging within utilities, driven by an increase in the number of new rate plans and programs being introduced. A growing number of utilities offer time of use rate plans, connected device DR programs, and community solar.  In addition, a growing number of consumers are adopting EVs and rooftop solar.

New rates and programs are providing customers with an unprecedented number of choices and creating a new customer journey – the customer choice journey. The customer choice journey can be an orchestrated multi-channel journey helping the customer select the best rate plan and programs to match the customer’s lifestyle. It can provide proactive offers, based on the customer’s consumption pattern, and by guiding the customer through a holistic journey investigating all relevant rates and programs.

Although utilities are rolling out new choices at a rapid pace, many have not yet focused on providing an optimal customer choice journey. Instead, programs are offered to customers in a singular fashion and many utilities do not have the ability to proactively identify rate and program bill impact on an individual customer. In addition, many utilities do not have the ability to proactively identify which rate and program best match a customer’s consumption pattern.

Here are three ways to enhance the new customer choice journey:

  • Provide customers with proactive offers, based on their unique consumption history. Include specific details on how the offer matches their consumption style. Include a bill impact showing how their bill will change based on new rate/program enrollment and their unique annual usage.  Proactively notify customers through multiple channels including web and mobile.
  • Create a digital journey allowing the customer to investigate all relevant rates and programs in a holistic journey. Begin the journey with recommended rates and programs for each customer based on their consumption history. Provide the customer with their expected bill impact for each rate and program they investigate. The bill impact should be a revenue grade calculation, calculated with the same accuracy as the utility billing engine.
  • Enable the customer to investigate behind the meter changes, such as solar, EV and load shift. For TOU rates recommend specific load-shift changes the customer can make and provide bill impact for each option.

Providing real-time, customer specific, revenue grade bill impact calculations are an essential piece of the customer choice journey.  These can be provided by an Enterprise Rating Engine.

Optimizing the customer choice journey can have multiple benefits for both the utility and the customer.  Enhancing the customer choice journey promises to increase program enrollments, helping to achieve the goals of each program, many of which have huge rewards related to peak shaving and meeting renewable goals.

Customer satisfaction increases as customers are presented with proactive offers that match their lifestyle and are able to investigate programs holistically. Combining recommendations and a holistic approach enables customers to select the best rate and programs in an efficient manner as well as saving the customer money on their electric bill. A true win-win for the utility and the customers.