Can you remember the last time you got something in the mail that you didn’t expect, but it ended up being just the thing you needed? I do, and I bet you do, too.
One time, an enthusiastic friend sent me my birthday present three weeks early, remembering the month but not the date. She blessed me with four bags of gourmet coffee. Not only was it delicious, but it helped cut down my grocery bill that week and it came with a note saying that the proceeds from the coffee would be donated to an animal shelter.
That happy accident cemented what became a long-lasting friendship. In her lecture, “The Anatomy of Trust,” bestselling author Brené Brown explains that trust is built in repeated small moments or gestures like these, creating mutually beneficial relationships.
The relationship between utilities and their customers has evolved over the years to one where customers expect utilities to provide a benefit and establish trust before they will engage. And right now, with energy costs climbing and extreme weather creating concerns over grid reliability, there is no better time to reestablish trust with an easy-to-implement and guaranteed “win-win” kit program. More than 59% of consumers surveyed for an Ernst & Young (EY) report would like to turn to their energy providers for advice and support on sustainability. This is your opportunity to dive in and become the trusted advisor your customers are looking for.
Utilities can deliver, literally and figuratively. Conservation kits could be just the thing your customers need. Send a “Four Seasons of Savings” kit each quarter, filling it with seasonally appropriate products to save energy and water year-round.
Kit programs have numerous benefits for both you and your customers:
They Deliver Immediate, Verified Savings: Kit products should be simple to install and produce immediate, tangible results, like a water-efficient showerhead that looks beautiful and produces a pressure-compensated flow. When customers see how quickly and easily they can save money and energy, they’ll want to engage further in additional energy-saving programs within your portfolio.
They Improve Satisfaction: Kits should be personalized with something that’s actually useful, like a garden hose timer for customers in towns with strict watering hours, or a flyer about your utility’s surge protection services during tornado season in the Midwest. Steer away from sending tchotchke that doesn’t serve a real purpose; customers will see right through it.
They Build Trust: Today’s utility customers represent a full spectrum of values, motivations, and behaviors. Show that you’ll be their energy-saving partner, not just a bill collector. Fill seasonal kits with educational and promotional materials for your other services, like a flyer about your utility’s demand response program tucked behind a smart socket. This shows that your utility has a range of services that are dynamic enough to meet their changing needs.
They’re Cost-Effective: Free energy-saving kits are a valuable geographic and demographic targeting tool. They allow you to tap into multifamily communities, income-qualified households, and other unexplored markets. Trackable surveys and detailed product installation reporting prove each kit’s value, and the data can also be used to send additional products that meet specific needs and generate further engagement. Utilizing your states technical reference manual (TRM), you can ensure products inside the kit are cost-effective and meet your energy or water savings goals, while providing the most benefit to your customers.
After receiving my friend’s gift of gourmet coffee, I wanted to learn more about the company behind it. I took a deep dive on their website, and I left impressed. In the months since, I’ve acquired more coffee, a tote bag, a coffee mug, and have sent my own gift packages twice.
As you can see, the original, small gift sparked a relationship with that company (and my friend). Four Seasons of Savings kits can do the same for utilities and their residential customers. Learn more about seasonal conservation kits and get ideas for building your own by visiting the Four Seasons of Savings web page.