Getting Outside Yourself: Customer Communications

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Maybe you’ve heard the phrase, “Get over yourself” sometime in your life. Today I’m going to adapt that and say, when writing for customers or other external stakeholders, “Get outside yourself.” Years ago, when I was a communicator at an electric company, a communications consultant would pop in now and then to help us sharpen our messaging. More than a … Read More

Marketing Electric TOU Prices: The Time is Right

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The proliferation of electric vehicles, rooftop solar and other strategic forces afoot in the industry are driving a growing number of electricity providers to implement, or investigate, time of use (TOU) pricing. For some, this is a big step. Many utilities have long offered only one price option: a flat per-kilowatt-hour price. Leaders considering offering TOU pricing may be wondering … Read More

Customer Satisfaction: Fixing Small Problems Before They Become Big Ones

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Denial, the old saying goes, ain’t just a river in Egypt. That rattling sound you hear when you drive your car? Ignore it — maybe it will go away. That pain in your back? Probably caused by sleeping in an awkward position last night. Feeling sluggish? Grab another cup of coffee. Sometimes it’s nothing, but other times we may be … Read More

Easing Anxieties and Meeting Needs: Communications Tips During COVID-19

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The COVID-19 pandemic has upended life across our society and economy. Energy-company communicators are scrambling to keep up with the changes that are roiling our lives each day. Doubtless some communicators are dismayed when they can’t find their crisis communications plan. Even worse would be a plan document that is outdated, filled with names of employees who retired years ago, … Read More

Public Speaking: How Would Lincoln Tell That Story?

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Recently I had the pleasure of listening to world-renowned presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin (left) discuss her book, Leadership: In Turbulent Times at a sold-out event at the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus. Her talk was especially riveting because she shared numerous stories from her decades of research into four U.S. presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and … Read More

Environmental Communications: When Green is the New Black

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In recent years, a growing number of electric utilities have added “sustainable” or “environmentally responsible” or “cleaner” to their longtime vision of providing electric service that is safe, affordable and reliable. That’s one part of their response to a shifting market. Even utilities operating in traditionally regulated monopoly markets, where there is no threat of losing customers to a competitor, … Read More

Media Relations: 10 Tips from Two Pros Part 2

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This month’s blog post on media relations is a continuation of last month’s post, Media Relations: 10 Tips From Two Pros, Part 1, where we interviewed Jeff Lane and Randi Berris, media relations professionals for Salt River Project (SRP) and DTE Energy, respectively, for their tips on achieving media relations excellence. In that post, we listed the first five tips … Read More

Media Relations: 10 Tips from Two Pros Part 1

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The utility media relations function can help turn stakeholders into advocates, producing a wide range of benefits: lessened frictions, lowered costs, enhanced customer relations, increased customer satisfaction and improved brand equity. But when utility spokespersons have a tin ear or a heavy hand, they can create problems internally and externally: for executives, for customer service representatives, for legislative and regulatory … Read More