All utilities need to improve the way they handle their customers.
The end result of smart metering is more interaction with energy buyers and massive new volumes of data about patterns of energy use. Handled the right way, this could open up new routes to revenue.
For those who want to use smart meters to deliver new smart services, our research identified six success factors:
- Compatibility: consumers will compare smart meters and services with alternatives — they must be as accessible as apps on a smartphone, and be compatible with popular technology.
- Simplicity: consumers want products and services that are easy to use, are simply designed and offer clear value and benefit.
- Control: there is a balance between simplicity and retaining control. For example, automatic switching to a cheaper tariff did not appeal, even when it saved consumers money, because it removes the element of personal choice.
- Privacy: while concerns about privacy vary by market — the US is particularly sensitive — this is heightened when information about consumers is pooled from multiple sources. However, concerns can be outweighed if consumers understand and want the benefits on offer.
- Education: awareness of smart meters varies greatly. Consumers want and expect education about smart metering from utilities as well as government bodies and the media. This is even more important when new smart services are offered.
- Benefits: communication must focus on consumer benefits – not what the technology can do — to make smart meters a success. Utilities should clearly explain benefits to customers in terms that are meaningful to them — for example, by showing the economic value of energy savings rather than the kilowatt saving.
The other lesson learned was that it's not enough to improve just a few of these aspects: P&Us must get all six factors right for smart meters and services to be taken up by consumers.
To learn more about how we can help your organization improve its customer focus and get more from your investment in smart, contact us.