The Power of Lakeland Electric’s Engagement Strategy

November 29, 2017 | Blog

As part of the November 16, 2017 American Public Power Association (APPA) webinar, “Using Online Customer Engagement Strategies to Improve Satisfaction and Program Participation,” David Kus, Assistant General Manager of Lakeland Electric, presented the results of his utility’s digital strategy designed to help their customers manage their energy. Mr. Kus explained how in less than a year, Lakeland had more than doubled their goals and the additional benefits have exceeded expectations.

Lakeland researched options available after a rigorous bid process, and selected Apogee Interactive’s Empower Platform, (POPP) a Personalized, Outbound, Proactive, and Predictive energy analysis platform. The Empower engine integrates billing data from Lakeland’s smart grid system and automates key elements of the engagement strategy. They needed a platform that was always accessible and allowed customers to understand, manage, and predict their energy use.

Predicting the amount of the bill is especially important for some customers. Offering information about a potential high bill while the customer can still make changes avoids hardships to the customer, helps reduce calls, and increases customer satisfaction.

The implementation goal was simple, have 5% of Lakeland’s 127,000 customers enroll in the Energy Toolset, Lakeland’s outbound communications and energy analysis tools. The project they call Energy Toolset, was introduced to customers in January of 2017. By the end of October 2017, more than 10% have enrolled. Surveys show that the enrolled customers have an 85% satisfaction level with the toolset.

Lakeland’s engagement strategy needed:

  • To proactively engage customers by using the hourly billing data from their smart grid system. This includes easy to use, accurate, analysis tools, that provides current and relevant information.
  • To allow the customer to predict what the next bill could be using a wide range of data that includes local weather, rates, and details about the customer’s home or business.
  • To provide personalized suggestions that help the customer reduce the predicted bill.
  • To offer tools for management of the customer’s energy use and cost, that included rate comparison calculators (Lakeland found many customers did not realize they had rate options), online energy audits, and more.
  • Allows CSRs to see same things customers see when a customer contacts Lakeland for help.

Along with the Energy Toolset rollout, Lakeland updated their website making it easier to use. Customers can access the applications by logging into the profile they create, through the platform without creating a profile, or from inside their utility account.

In 2018, Lakeland plans to expand its communications strategy to include Apogee’s bill explanation through the Amazon Echo, implement personalized videos, and create a commercial rate comparison calculator.

About The Author

Karen Morris, Marketing Manager, Apogee Interactive, Inc.

Karen manages Apogee’s marketing resources service as well as Apogee’s own corporate marketing efforts. For the past 17 years, she’s worked closely with utilities across the country to help them better market their energy efficiency programs through online initiatives. She brings timely and informative webinars to energy professionals through Apogee Institute as well as directs Apogee’s user groups.

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