It is well-documented giving customers choices and the opportunity for interaction improves customer satisfaction, and that, in turn, improves ROI. Recent market research has shown that customers also appreciate recommendations from their energy provider. Tools such as a digital marketplace can provide another spin on giving them choices for home maintenance and repair.
Two-thirds of those who received a recommendation reported that it was highly relevant, and three-quarters followed that recommendation. Making a recommendation boosted brand trust by more than 80 points on a 1,000-point scale, following a recommendation increased it by more than 90 points, and relevant recommendations increased trust by nearly 150 points.
Because of flattening demand and disruptions in the market, many utilities are looking to increase their offerings with value-added services – something that can provide an opportunity to make a recommendation. Utilities across the world have found that providing a digital marketplace with approved services and vendors can help do just that in an efficient, cost-effective way, and including home warranty solutions allow energy providers to leverage their brand to move into a new retail space and expand offerings. In addition, many utilities are entering this marketplace with affinity partnerships.
In a recent survey, 59 percent of respondents said they would have an improved opinion of their utility provider if they offered a home warranty, and those who did have a home warranty through their provider rated that provider higher – 40 percent for gas and 36 percent for electric.
The pandemic has also had devastating effects on households’ financial preparedness. Since 47 percent of homeowners have $1000 or less and 15 percent have no money set aside for repairs, an unanticipated repair could be financially devastating to your customers. Repairs are a fact of homeownership – as the 23 percent of homeowners who have had HVAC repairs alone can attest to. In fact, 62% of those surveyed confirmed they had a home repair emergency over the previous twelve months.
You can offer your customers a suite of low-cost home warranty plans through HomeServe USA, providing a one-call solution without deductibles and call-out fees. Energy-centered offerings include coverage for water heaters, cooling and heating systems, interior and exterior electric, interior and exterior gas, heating and cooling tune-ups and preventive maintenance for heating systems – and most plans cost less than a cup of coffee each month. Customers have the ability to pick and choose what fits their needs and their budget.
“An unexpected repair can take a real bite out of a homeowner’s budget, and, when you’re dealing with an electrical or gas issue, it also can be a safety concern,” Andrew DeCastro, HomeServe senior vice president of corporate development, said. “If a customer’s heating or cooling systems go out of service, their home might not be habitable, depending on the weather. With HomeServe, customers make one call to our call center and we handle finding a contractor and dispatching them quickly so the repair can be made as soon as possible. Our plans help homeowners avoid financial shock and safety issues so they can have peace of mind.”
Dorothy, a CenterPoint Energy Customer in Houston, learned that her gas service line, although only 15 years old, was out-of-code and leaking – and it was a job that would require 50 feet of trenching and cost approximately $3,000. Luckily, CenterPoint had partnered with HomeServe, and Dorothy had a gas service line plan.
“I signed up in July, I believe, never thinking this would happen, but it did, and I’m very glad that I had [the coverage],” she said. “When I called, she was very helpful, answered any questions I might have, reassured me that I was covered, which made me very happy. The contractor that HomeServe sent out, they were very helpful and ready to fix whatever it was.”
Shannon, a SoCalGas customer, had a severe failure of her gas service line, requiring a complete replacement from home to meter – a total length of 250 feet, which would have cost her between $10,000 and $15,000, if she didn’t have a plan with HomeServe.
“When we found out there was a problem and the gas was turned off, we called HomeServe,” she said. “At that point, they proceeded to contact a plumbing company, who would come out and determine exactly what was wrong. There’s no out-of-pocket on the repair – the entire repair is being covered. They really came through for us and saved us a lot of money. They stayed in contact with us, they were very friendly, very upfront, so I was very satisfied.”
HomeServe has a country-wide network of contractors, each of whom has undergone a thorough vetting process for the safety and peace of mind of your customers. Each is licensed and insured and keeps an A rating with the Better Business Bureau and a high customer satisfaction score in post-service surveys.
“We’re facing significant changes and challenges in our industry,” Mark Cosby, former Westar Energy Director of Business Development, said. “We’re trying to establish deeper, more meaningful relationships with customers by finding new ways to engage them. That’s the reason for strategic partners such as HomeServe. When you have a partner like HomeServe, you have one number, and if something happens, you can have that confidence level, not only will they be there fast, but they’re vetted, they’re competent, they’re trusted, so you don’t have to worry about who’s coming to your home.”
HomeServe also has Stevie Award-winning call centers in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, featuring 400 seats, bilingual services and available 24/7/365.
“Whenever you hire a vendor or a third-party administrator, they’re really representing your brand, your reputation to your customers,” Cheryl Brubaker Schaub, former FirstEnergy Manager, Consumer Products Group, said. “They trust their utility to send a contractor who’s licensed, who’s insured, who’s been background-checked and drug-checked.
“We very carefully scrutinized three or four vendors, and HomeServe was very clearly the partner we wanted to work with. HomeServe is a leader in this field, and they deliver world-class performance.”