BlastPoint sat down with Mark Brown to learn how Dynamic Pricing led to increased customer satisfaction with a top North Carolina utility provider: PWC Fayetteville.
Nearly every industry participates in offering a dynamic price structure to its customers. From retail, entertainment, public transportation, and more – including utility companies. According to Fayetteville’s Public Works Commission (PWC) Chief Customer Officer Mark Brown, due to advancing technology, a dynamic pricing strategy is not only benefitting PWC and its customers now, but will also in the future.
For background, PWC currently services over 100,000 customers in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Their vision, “to be recognized as the best utility in the United States,” comes with a responsibility to recognize their customer’s expectations and provide them with the services that meet or surpasses those expectations.
Dynamic Pricing and Customer Choice
Expectations, Mark believes, are being driven by two factors related to technology. First, “customers’ expectations are changing of their providers,” and “traditional pricing mechanisms don’t give the customers the opportunity to take advantage of those technologies.”
For example, as more customers are turning to energy-efficient technologies, they expect their utility company to offer the services that allow them to transition to that technology at a price that meets their expectations. “Knowing what the customers are interested in, we can then target much more effectively the information they want to see about the things we’re doing that will help them get what they want, which drives our customer satisfaction,” Mark said.
Knowing what the customers are interested in, we can then target much more effectively the information they want to see about the things we’re doing that will help them get what they want, which drives our customer satisfaction.Mark Brown, CCO, Fayetteville PWC
Dynamic pricing “gives customers choices,” Mark said. PWC’s structure is based on peak and off-peak pricing. This allows the residential customer to make decisions based on “comfort or convenience” when they decide to use their energy and/or energy appliances. By allowing choices, they found a decrease in customer energy usage and an increase in customer satisfaction.
Achieving Customer Satisfaction with Energy Technology
Based on self-reported 2020 utility data, BlastPoint identified that municipal utilities’ average residential enrollment was the lowest in the US compared to Coops and IOUs. However, PWC has been successful, ranking within the top 10 municipal utilities, with the highest dynamic pricing enrollment rate of residential customers.
Mark attributes this to PWC’s team rolling out a metering technology upgrade and communication program that was timed to allow customers to adjust to the upcoming changes to their energy plans. In doing so, PWC learned more about who their customers are, what forms of communication they were most receptive to, and how they can implement and improve communications on an ongoing basis for the future.
For PWC, education was the key to their communication strategy success. Once the “Time of Use” pricing structure was established, PWC gave their customer base over a year to familiarize themselves with the mandatory changes. Education came in the form of magazine and newspaper ads, direct emails, snail mail that included magnets for refrigerators, community group conversations and meetings, and more. By the time the program was live, Mark said, “there was essentially no pushback from customers.”
Laying the Groundwork for Environmental Advancements
Utilities across the country are preparing for customers to adopt more environmentally friendly technologies. In 2019, PWC participated in Electricities of North Carolina’s Customer Satisfaction Survey where they found that between “28-29% of their customer are primarily engaged with their energy supplier on environmental issues.”
In an effort to support those customers who are ready to adopt more environmentally friendly energy technologies, PWC established Strategic/Environmental Objectives that include:
- Meet Demand Response
- Lower Customer Bills, and
- Promote Carbon Free Resources
Mark suggested that dynamic pricing enrollment can help not only keep those customers’ rates down, but keep rates low for the utility company as well.
Dynamic pricing has not only allowed customers more choices, but has allowed PWC to become more customer-centric as well. Learn more about Fayetteville PWC dynamic pricing strategies and how customer intelligence data has helped them increase client satisfaction by watching the full video: Spotlight Series: Mark Brown, Fayetteville PWC.
Is your company looking to expand dynamic pricing, energy efficiency, or demand response programs? Check out our Sustainability Solutions and get in touch to learn how BlastPoint’s Customer Intelligence Platform can help.