We’re at that part of 2016 when many of our New Year’s resolutions lay behind us, broken and abandoned, despite our best intentions: We’ve resumed eating carbs, we’ve stopped going to the gym, and we’re still in that unhealthy relationship.
Not to worry. If you adopted a personal New Year’s resolution to increase customer participation in your utility’s energy efficiency programs (always a popular resolution for this crowd!), here’s an idea. . It involves partnering with a top-tier solutions provider (not me, but thanks for asking) that can do what most utilities can’t.
The company is CLEAResult. This is not a paid advertisement. Rather, it is a full-throated endorsement from a highly satisfied customer. And we all know how valuable those are.
CLEAResult’s approach to energy efficiency is a little different. Its mission is, “to change the way people use energy.” Its solution to enhancing a utility’s customer’s experience is called, People First. Buildings Second.™
An Artful Combination of Left Brain and Right Brain
Different, right? Most utilities, and most third-party energy-efficiency firms, start by ensuring the integrity of the building envelope. No sense upgrading your HVAC system if your building’s walls look like Swiss cheese.
The traditional “buildings first” approach makes a lot of sense, particularly in the highly analytic, left-brain, quantitative culture that exists inside a utility. I’ve worked in one of the best utilities around, and the “quants” were definitely running the show. So yes, making sure the numbers pencil out is important.
But the “buildings first” approach doesn’t help a utility improve its relationship with customers. A house can’t write a check to improve the integrity of its building envelope. Only customers can write a check. And trying to talk to most customers about the importance of a tight building envelope is a non-starter in the customer experience journey—it doesn’t engage them, it doesn’t fulfill an aspiration, it doesn’t resonate with customers and it certainly doesn’t touch their hearts and lift their spirits.
Getting on the Same Planet as Your Customers
That’s why, when it comes to residential energy efficiency, most utilities are still from Mars and most customers are still from Venus, to tinker with the title of the best-selling book by John Gray. Utilities still focus on technical issues and payback periods while customers want to know if it comes in blue or if there’s a financing plan. All too often, we have a dialogue of the (mutually) deaf.
But by partnering with CLEAResult, utilities can better connect with their customers and achieve greater kilowatt-hour and therm savings. CLEAResult may not be the only energy-services company with a highly personalized energy adviser service. But they’re the only one with whom I have interacted as a customer. And as a customer, I am extremely satisfied.
It wasn’t easy writing a $6,000 check for home energy-efficiency improvements, but once I wrote the check, it wasn’t about the money. It was about getting great service. And I got that throughout the process.