How to Increase Your Retention Rates

How to Increase Your Retention Rates

By Ty Benefiel | Meter Genius

The easiest way to increase the value of your company is to increase your customer retention rates.  But in an environment where your customers are inundated with advertisements from other energy providers, how do you keep them from switching when they’re presented with an offer that is better than yours?

The top brands in every industry have cultivated a loyal customer base by building a strong relationship with their customers.  But those brands have it easy.  Their customers can feel, taste, or experience their products and are reminded of the brand when they use them.  Think about the experience of entering your favorite coffee shop – you’re greeted by a friendly barista who likely knows your name, you fill up your branded cup to go, and you earn more points toward a free coffee when you checkout.

When an energy customer turns on a light or turns up their thermostat, the name of their energy provider never crosses their mind.

Develop a digital customer experience

For energy providers, there is no tangible product, so you must create one.  You must create a place where your customers can go to get the experience they value.  And customers today want a personalized digital experience where they can get the information they need whenever they want it.  If you build the type of experience that your customers value, then your customers will become more valuable to you.  During tests across multiple energy providers, customers that have interacted with MeterGenius-built programs have had a 35% higher annual retention rate than customers in control groups.  And we’ve found that the customers that interact with these programs are the ones who would have been more likely to switch than the average customer if it had not been for the digital experience.

Create a truly engaging experience

Your customers do not care about usage graphs.  Sure, maybe they’ll login in once a month to see how much they spent, but is that your goal – one login a month?  Can you create a strong relationship with your customers if they only login once a month?  We found that customers who logged in at least three times a month had a 55% higher retention rate than control customers.

Customers spend just 5% of their time on MeterGenius-built applications looking at usage graphs.  The other 95% of their time is spent reading energy efficiency articles, deciding which energy-efficient habits to adopt, browsing our selection of smart products, and competing for various prizes.  If you’re only offering usage graphs in emails or if all of the features on your website are focused on usage data, you’re missing out on an incredible amount engagement opportunity.

Mobile apps are key

According to Comscore, consumers access digital media from their phone 67% of the time, and a mobile app is far more effective than a mobile responsive website at keeping a customer’s attention.  Comscore reported in 2016 that the average visit to a mobile app is 20 times longer than the average visit to a mobile website.  Consumers interact with mobile apps, and those interactions lead the consumer to discover new ways of finding value from the brand.  In MeterGenius-built programs, users who downloaded the mobile app login 700% more often than customers without the app. Customers that downloaded the mobile app read more articles, participate in more competitions, and answer more profile questions than those who don’t.  But most importantly, you increase your customer’s likelihood to renew their contract with you if you can get them to download your mobile app.

We’ve all heard the same stat over and over again – the average person spends just seven minutes a year interacting with their energy provider.  It’s impossible to build a relationship with someone in just seven minutes, and without a strong relationship with your customer, they’ll switch when they’re presented with a better offer.  Instead, provide the kind of digital experience where your customer wants to spend more time with you.  In our programs, customers spend over 20 minutes a month interacting with our clients’ websites, mobile apps, and emails.  With that kind of relationship, when another provider comes knocking with a better offer, their customers won’t even answer the door.

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Ty Benefiel is CEO of Meter Genius