The Growing Importance of Consumer Engagement - National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC)

The Growing Importance of Consumer Engagement

If there’s one word you could use to sum up the past few years, it’s “change.” Everyone, everywhere has dealt with major changes, and has done so very quickly. The energy industry is no different.

Many things have gone virtual—not just work, but school, medical appointments and even just chatting with friends. As that virtual trend continues to grow, the need for reliable electricity becomes ever more important.

Industry EVolution Enhances Need For Engagement

Though a global pandemic did bring about a lot of change, the utility industry has been evolving for many years now. And that shift is being brought about largely by customers. A rapidly increasing number of people are adding solar panels to their homes or an electric vehicle (EV) (or multiple EVs), potentially doubling the energy demand just for their residence.

While there are critical operational challenges that come along with managing these changes, one thing that is becoming increasingly important in the Tennessee Valley is customer engagement. Customers are starting to view their local power company as a resource and a partner, rather than just a bill they must pay every month.

That shift in mentality is a wonderful thing, but it also comes with increased customer demands—and not just on their electric load. Customers want increased interaction with you, and they need contemporary solutions that allow them to stay up to date through multiple channels. You need to be as proactive as possible and understand your customers as best as you can to stay ahead. And it all starts with good data and the right tools.  

Segment to Success

With the fast charging network funded by Tennessee Valley Authority and Tennessee Department of Transportation coming to Tennessee, you will need to be prepared by determining which customers are most likely to purchase EVs, and proactively communicate with them about your EV rate or other programs that could benefit them. 

A customer segmentation solution can help you build customer profiles and target your messaging to the customers that are most likely to sign up for any program you offer or partner with TVA to offer.

For example, your customer segmentation solution can help you discover the segment of your customer base that would likely be considering an EV purchase based on specific data, such as their location and even their technology behavior. Then, you can proactively communicate with them about your EV program/rates and allow them to go straight to a signup form that connects to your enterprise system, providing an easily manageable program within a single system. This keeps you ahead of any operational challenges and ultimately leads to a more satisfied customer.  

Choose the Right Channel

Now that you have the data and a better understanding of your customers, how do you put it to work? A multi-channel messaging solution can help you leverage your customer segments and proactively communicate the right message to the right audience in the right way to increase program adoption.

Are you leveraging TVPPA’s newly developed Supply Chain toolkit? If so, you can couple the toolkit with a multi-channel messaging solution and deliver those supply chain disruption messages and updates to the impacted customers by way of their preferred communication method.

Every customer is different, and they all have a different way they want to engage with you. Some customers may not want to get text messages and prefer emails or even letters for non-critical messages. The more tech-savvy customers will likely utilize an available app for bill pay and to connect with you. They may be best reached with an app push notification. Those same customers, though, may want to receive a phone call for a critical awareness message or outage information. A multi-channel messaging solution can help meet these different and changing communication demands. 

More than ever before, consumers are realizing the importance of a good utility technology partner. However, that comes with higher customer demands and the need for more innovative, more contemporary tools and the need to better understand your customers. Better customer engagement leads to higher satisfaction—and that all starts with the right solutions.

National Information Solutions Cooperative (NISC) can help you connect with your community in new and innovative ways. Contact Keith Jones for more information on NISC’s Consumer Engagement and Marketing solutions at or (919) 349-2408.

*This article was originally published as an Associate Member Spotlight in the TMEPA (Tennessee Municipal Electric Power Association) Daily News Clips.