Customers are trapped in a relationship with their utility analogous to the “dictator game” – you take what the dictator gives you… until a disruptor offers an alternative.
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Take CX to the Next Level
Using artificial intelligence and machine learning to forecast energy demand, Drift turns to its network of peer-to-peer energy producers to procure power for its customers. Users can access a dashboard to choose whether to prioritize cheap or low carbon energy sources and are able to terminate their relationship with Drift at a moment's notice. Drift currently operates in New York City, but has business models that identify pricing opportunities built for the entire state of New York and 16 additional states.
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Value is Shifting Downstream Toward the Customer
Early Winners in CX
Energy Cloud technologies produce vast amounts of data. Utilities are incumbents in a unique position to harvest, mine, and analyze Energy Cloud data to deliver targeted energy services that track customer lifestyle and business needs. Utilities can anticipate customer needs and propensities to offer the best option for customers through seamless customer journeys.
Pioneers across other industries (e.g., Amazon, Netflix, Uber) use data and digital, on-demand innovation to streamline CX. There are companies in the energy sector attempting to do just the same.
Good Enough CX is Not Enough Anymore
Use Digital Channels
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Vivint Solar is another emerging disruptor; this DER provider combines rooftop solar with smart learning capabilities to help customers achieve net-zero homes. More recently, the company shifted from a pure solar offering to a residential DER solutions provider—which includes Mercedes-Benz batteries and home management tools.
Innovate with Agility
SolarCity, well known under the powerful Tesla brand name, offers the trifecta of disruptive DER—rooftop solar, EVs, and battery storage. From a DER technical standpoint, it is intriguing to consider the possibility of what Tesla could do. For example, Tesla could couple the energy capacity of plug-in EV (PEV) batteries with solar, PEV charging infrastructure, and virtual power plant software all at the home of a single customer.
Utilities must accept higher levels of risk, and be able to fail fast and recover quickly, in this rapidly changing environment.
Business As Usual
Utilities should explore creative tools and solutions, such as the gamification of energy savings, voice-activation capabilities (such as using Alexa for engagement) and online utility marketplaces.
The shift to the Energy Cloud represents a shift in value to the customers. Disruptive technologies enable customers to more actively participate in the energy marketplace, with non-traditional competitors entering the market to serve their growing needs.
Utilities should seek out ways through digital and proactive communication to make this journey easier both for the customer and the utility.
Learning from CX Disruption in Energy
Customer Experience is Changing
Utilities should prioritize having the correct connections and endpoints for 3rd party integration between energy usage and a smart home, to create internal efficiencies and enable stronger data analysis.
Partner or Perish
The market is rapidly adding new players and established market players are expanding their capabilities - utilties should find ways to partner across industry sectors to formulate new go-to-market strategies and take advantage of opportunities.