During last week's KEMA executive forum in Irving, Texas -- a gathering of thought leaders and movers and shakers in the retail energy industry -- executives all called for more innovation -- both technological and in customer service -- to support the growth of retail energy choice in America. With its unique connection to customers, providing them with a one stop shop to compare competing energy plans and find the lowest power rate, SaveOnEnergy.com is poised to be a driving force in making retail energy providers live up to their promises of innovation, and provide a better customer experience to energy consumers.
Chris Weston, CEO of Direct Energy for just under a year, keynoted the KEMA conference by telling energy companies that they have to be, "better with the service we provide to our customers." Furthermore, to fend off opponents of choice in the energy industry, Weston stressed that energy providers must innovate. "We are at an important point of inflexion for our industry, created by smart meters and environmental awareness and we must take advantage of this situation, cementing the benefits of competition and becoming more than a line on the bill," Weston said. If energy suppliers can not live up to the promise of better customer service and innovation, the industry risks backsliding in a return to the monopoly system, Weston said.
Thousands of energy consumers looking for a new energy supplier use SaveOnEnergy.com every month to compare not only rates, but value-adding product features like airline miles, rebates, and green energy. However, SaveOnEnergy.com only lists the premier energy suppliers in the industry -- companies that its experts have vetted and companies that customers can trust. Gaining a listing on SaveOnEnergy.com, by proving its product is worthy to be considered by customers, is a top goal for energy providers looking to win more customers in a crowded and fragmented market.
That puts SaveOnEnergy.com in the position to represent customers and demand innovation from energy companies. Much like Wal-Mart uses its thousands of stores and millions of customers to force vendors to be greener and more efficient with packaging and shipping as a condition of gaining access to Wal-Mart's coveted shelf space, SaveOnEnergy.com similarly places high standards on suppliers for recommendation on its energy comparison website.
Right now, that means only energy suppliers with high levels of customer service, unique billing and payment options (online bill pay, credit card payments), and value-adding bonus features (airline miles, prepaid gift cards, green energy, etc.) are recommended. In the future, as smart meters support more advanced products, it means only electric companies offering customers new ways to manage and lower their electric bills through energy efficiency, unique rate designs, and in-home monitoring devices will win SaveOnEnergy.com's recommendation.
Those energy companies that don't innovate and don't offer added value to customers won't have access to SaveOnEnergy.com's thousands of monthly shoppers. This will force them to re-invent their products, come up with new ideas, and ultimately create a better customer experience in their efforts to win a listing on SaveOnEnergy.com and gain customers. Additionally, bad actors who mistreat customers or don't provide a good customer experience will be shuffled out of the industry quickly, as they will be barred by SaveOnEnergy.com, choking off their ability to find new customers and stay afloat. SaveOnEnergy.com thus acts as a filter so only the best, most customer-friendly suppliers are able to find and win customers, rewarding these energy providers for their commitment to customers, and forcing other energy suppliers to strive to the same high levels of customer service.