Utility companies are encountering a new face of the customer: Millennials. This generation possesses an entirely new consumer behavior, from how they engage to how they transact. Millennials manage life and work needs almost entirely online, and even through their mobile devices, from shopping to online banking to bill pay.
Not surprisingly, this characteristic is not exclusive to Millennials. A whopping 72 percent of all U.S. consumers favor company websites for answers over direct phone relations or mail . It’s an experience being coined as self-service – and self-service is smart service for all businesses, including utilities and their efficiency programs.
For Millennials, these critical customers take it a step further. They want more than just information online – they expect the entire journey to happen within the digital space. And since efficiency programs are, in part, designed to build customer satisfaction, it only makes sense to tailor the experience to them – with real-time information from a single source.
The big “so what” you may be thinking is: Why do Millennials matter so much?
They’re all grown up:
In 2015, the Millennial generation skimmed past the Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. These consumers range from 20 to 30 years old. The majority are well into their careers with sizable consumer clout. Some are buying houses. Almost all are consuming energy and paying utility bills.
This generation is highly educated (61 percent have attended college) . In fact, more Millennials have a college degree than any previous generation. With secondary school, comes weighty decision-making from their consumerism.
They have spending power:
So what else do their education and careers add up to? In the literal sense, spending power. In the next five years, Millennial purchasing power is estimated to be worth 170 billion . No doubt, we are seeing a large shift in consumer preferences and behavior trends with even larger economic weight in the very near future.
They’re talking…and sharing:
Millennials are loyal, but also critical, when it comes to brands. Born and bred in a completely digitized age, they boast the highest social networking penetration of any generation. And brand chatter can be found and seen everywhere – social media forums, customer review sites, group texts, etc. In fact, 7 out of 10 Millennials believe it is their consumer responsibility to provide feedback on brands and companies .
To learn more about Millennial customer behavior and its influence on program delivery, download The Changing Face of Efficiency Programs in the Digital Age white paper.
Clarkson, Diane. Forrester. “Do Your Customers Want to Telephone You for Service?” April 6, 2010. http://blogs.forrester.com/diane_clarkson/10-04-06-do_your_customers_want_telephone_you_service
Census Bureau. “America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2013: Adults.” Table A1. http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2013A.html
ComScore. “Next-Generation Strategies for Advertising to Millennials” Survey. http://www.comscore.com/Request/Presentations/2012/Millenials_Report_Download_-_January_2012
 Edelman. “8095 2.0 Insights Study.” December 2012
Technology Product Manager
Eric Wall possesses a unique balance of visionary thinking and pragmatic rationalism. This nature has made him the go-to technical guru for both his team and clients. He supports utility programs’ goals and upholds customer satisfaction by building and managing critical technologies and strategies. He is always searching for more efficient ways to streamline processes and alleviate end-user pain points. Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has earned certifications in energy management, demand side management and engineering.