7 Ways Digital Rewards are Implemented in the Energy Space

By Scotty Greenburg

Employing digital rewards, incentives, and payouts to help with customer engagement, incentivize behavioral change, and influence buying decisions has become a go-to strategy for driving business results in today’s online and offline world. In the energy space, the ability to engage people online and on their phone has begun to change the way energy companies engage with their customers. Integrating digital rewards as part of your digital engagement schemes is a proven way to bring more consumers into the fold.
We have identified 7 ways that digital reward catalogs – e-gift cards, prepaid cards, donations, and more – along with Energy specific rewards – bill discounts, green device discounts, appliance swaps, etc. – are helping Energy professionals drive key business results:

1. Customer Engagement Programs
Customer engagement programs in the energy sector encompass many goals and can take many forms but primary goals include improved customer engagement scores, energy conservation, and customer retention (when applicable). The incorporation of rewards can also take several forms, but each have their own strengths when it comes to driving results:

Do this, get that: Complete one action and receive a single reward. This is an excellent way to drive single events such as billing and other administrative changes.

Intervals: Sustain a level of engagement and reward at intervals. This is a strong strategy for asking for basic recurring actions from your customers or securing passive monitoring.

Points: Give points for actions which can be redeemed for rewards. Points programs are an excellent catch all because you can give points in different amounts for different types of actions – allowing users to engage at their own pace and choose their own rewards.

A full-fledged customer engagement program may very well incorporate all six of the remaining uses for rewards but tailoring your engagement strategies to give your customers the best experience is always priority. Incorporating digital rewards that offer choice is an excellent way of maintaining good experience and incentivizing engagement.

2. Customer Retention Programs
For those in deregulated markets, customer churn is seriously costly. Apart from an ongoing customer engagement program, strategies such as targeting discounts, rewards or surprise gifts at the middle or end of contract periods go a long way to retaining customers. While we believe discounts are highly effective contract-renewal tool, many firms have tested and found success with e-gift cards as renewal incentives because they work as well as discounts and they preserve revenue numbers while still giving customers and enjoyable kick-back.

3. Energy Savings Rewards
This one is straight forward, but rewards are an excellent way to influence that 60% of consumers that are passive on energy conservation and perhaps even the 20% that don’t care – that’s a lot of people that need influence. Obviously, the first incentive here is a reduced energy bill, but often making the behavioral changes necessary are forgotten in day to day activities. We’ve seen this across all spaces where rewards are delivered, but especially health & wellness, where an extra incentive is necessary despite what you would think are obvious intrinsic incentives.

4. Administrative Incentives
Much like incentives for energy conservation, incentives can speed up changes that help the energy company and improve customer experience. A $5-$25 gift card can be that quick incentive you’re looking for to get a customer to change to e-billing, accept paperless communications, or sign up for automatic payments.

5. Research and Survey Incentives
If you’re looking to receive prompt response on market research or customer experience projects then folding them into your engagement program and/or offering an incentive always out-performs a lack of incentive.

6. Rebate Payouts
One new and interesting use case for digital gift cards and prepaid cards is as a rebate or gift-with-purchase. E-gift cards are quick, easy to process, and have major brand appeal to a would-be buyer. Additionally, e-gift cards can be cost-effective when compared to cutting checks and/or mailing of a physical prepaid card.

7. Warranty Payouts
With the potential brand appeal, cost-effectiveness, and simple delivery of e-gift cards they can provide an easy or even automated way to process payouts on warranties – instantly and cheaply deliver an e-gift card for the current amount of a replacement appliance.

Whether you’re looking to engage, retain, or drive behavioral changes rewards can be a valuable part of your overall strategy. Providing a desirable mix of rewards – discounts representing cost savings and real value rewards that can be spent for pleasure – is important in any well-designed reward program.
Scotty Greenburg is the Director of Marketing at Tango Card