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Lessons in customer behavior from PwC and J.D. Power

We talk a lot about customers these days in the utilities industry: what they want, what they need, what they’ll choose, what they’ll run from, what they’ll like six months from now, what they’ll expect from their utility tomorrow (that may not be visible to that utility today).

Jim Curtain, a partner with PwC, and Jeff Conklin, Senior Director with J.D. Power, sat down with industry insiders  today to reveal what they know (from research and studies and outreach) about those utility customer desires.

Their top insights:

  • Your customer is going to measure you by others. They’re going to come to you with expectations they learned in retail, in banking, in insurance, in healthcare.
  • Every customer is mobile. Even the customer who doesn’t identify as mobile, doesn’t think of himself as mobile (i.e., doesn’t shop on his phone) is mobile.
  • Your customers who don’t talk to you may wander. If you don’t keep your customers in the conversation, they may be talking to someone else.
  • Customers today expect that you know them. This applies to every transaction. Recognize them by name, know their pain points, know their account history.
  • If you make a customer a promise, keep it. Customers don’t like when a problem occurs, but it’s much, much worse if you’ve told them a timeline or a result that doesn’t happen.
  • Work backwards from the customer. Don’t just talk to them. Listen to what they have to say, and then put it into use, into practice.
  • Customers will give you a grace period (sometimes). If you’ve been consistent on projects and results, customers will be forgiving with a bad situation. But, you have to have started this in a positive space.
  • Your customer judges you on the basics. Reliability and value drive customer needs. They always have. They always will. No matter how you’re applying it.
  • Customers love convenience. So you have to be on all channels, not just the ones easiest for you (and not just the ones most of them use). Be available however a customer wants to talk.
  • Work on your consistent customer message. They want every message across every medium to connect and be consistent. (And the tolerance for differences in channels is declining.)
  • If your customer is aware, your customer is happier. If they know your programs from the details on down, they feel more comfortable and are, essentially, more delighted with you.
  • All customers respond to one phrase. It’s simple, but J.D. Power numbers prove you’ll get a satisfaction boost from those two simple words your mom taught you to say: thank you.



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