Each year at AESP there is the expected and the unexpected. Sessions that have been trending for some time and new takeaways. My takeaway and the echoed buzz amongst the conference chatter: just how to make the customer experience digital and keep it beneficial.
No matter your industry, there is an expectation for businesses to provide cloud-based controls that drive real-time data. According to recent research by Park Associates, customers are increasingly ready to access and leverage these controls. Over 30% of broadband customers value the idea of controlling their smart home energy devices over cost savings. That stat says and influences a lot.
Our industry appears to be at a crossroad. Looking past simply on-the-go access and online participation, our future is also seeing distributed energy sooner than later. What does this mean? Customer engagement needs to be higher on our program to-do list and it needs to be thoughtfully engineered.
Grid Modernization has dominoed into lots of data and lots of discoveries about consumer behavior, the energy we use, etc. As a result, vendors are beginning to develop software to give customers access to this critical data. Our responsibility or role is to help utilities and customers manage profile, energy use, and control preferences on a single platform. The ultimate goal being customer engagement and empowerment through valuable access and control. Or as one vendor put it “orchestrating the home experience.”
While I learned a lot from these AESP sessions, I was also satisfied that we were already heading down the right path as a company. Franklin is pursuing exactly this with our Efficiency@Work platform. By using customer-centered cloud-based portals and real-time digital communication, we help utilities enhance the customer experience and tap into new data.
How? Simple things like linking energy related data, energy efficiency contractors and customers on the same platform organically leads to faster decisions and better discoveries. It’s not just more data, it’s better data. This is exactly what Amazon has taught us: “Make it easy for the customer to do business with you.”
There are certainly challenges ahead. Digital is not a stagnant solution. One speaker volunteered, “software is eating the world.” Be it as it may. We cannot go against the grain, especially when it makes lives easier. Major industries are already transforming the landscape as we speak and are being transformed by the digital revolution themselves. Customers are ready. The AESP community is ready. And we’re in the saddle, more than ready to put our technology solutions to work.
Calling Kevin McDonough a driving force behind our evolution to grid optimization and Franklin Energy’s digital marketing transformation would be a massive understatement. He leads a team that helps hundreds of thousands of end-use customers save energy each year by leveraging his expertise in energy efficiency and demand response program design, while keeping an eye firmly on the future. All his endeavors are united by the common objective of helping clients reach their goals and helping preserve our world’s precious resources. In addition to his extensive executive experience within the industry, Kevin holds an MBA in operations from Boston College, is certified in Six Sigma quality program implementation and technology deployment and speaks three languages fluently.