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- Oct 2, 2023 1:43 am GMT
Excellence in communications and public relations (PR) means careful consideration of the myriad factors affecting customer perception and engagement. Responsive and authentic communication is just as important as transparency in communication to achieve rapport and relationship with stakeholders. Utility companies with great communications and (PR) exhibit several key characteristics, including:
- Transparency and timely information: Utilities prioritize transparent and timely communication with customers and stakeholders about their services, operations, and any updates. For example, a utility company might publish a regular newsletter with updates on company news, initiatives, and planned outages.
- Proactive communication: Utilities proactively communicate with customers and stakeholders, rather than waiting for them to come to them with questions or concerns. For example, a utility company might send customers text alerts to notify them of upcoming power outages and restoration times.
- Crisis communication: Utilities have well-prepared strategies for crisis communication, so that they can quickly and effectively communicate with customers and stakeholders during emergencies. For example, a utility company might have a pre-developed crisis communication plan in place to ensure that it can quickly and effectively communicate with customers and stakeholders during a major storm event.
- Customer engagement: Utilities prioritize customer engagement, actively seeking feedback and promptly addressing inquiries and complaints. For example, a utility company might conduct customer satisfaction surveys to gather feedback and identify areas for improvement.
- Community involvement: Utilities are involved in the community, participating in local events and showing commitment to environmental sustainability. For example, a utility company might sponsor local events or donate to charitable organizations.
- Technology and digital platforms: Utilities leverage technology and digital platforms to communicate effectively with customers and stakeholders. For example, a utility company might develop a mobile app that allows customers to manage their accounts, view their bills, and report outages.
- Educating customers: Utilities prioritize educating customers about energy conservation and sustainability. For example, a utility company might publish energy-saving tips on its website and social media pages.
- Collaborative partnerships: Utilities build collaborative partnerships with stakeholders for open communication and alignment of goals. For example, a utility company might partner with local government agencies to promote energy efficiency and sustainability initiatives.
In addition to these key characteristics, utility companies with great communications and PR also incorporate the following main concepts into their communications and PR strategies:
- Authenticity: Utilities must be authentic in their communications, meaning that they must be honest and transparent with their customers and stakeholders. This includes being upfront about challenges and setbacks, as well as celebrating successes.
- Empathy: Utilities must be empathetic in their communications, meaning that they must be able to understand and relate to the perspectives of their customers and stakeholders. This includes using language that is clear and easy to understand, and being responsive to the needs and concerns of their customers and stakeholders.
- Inclusivity: Utilities must be inclusive in their communications, meaning that they must ensure that their communications are accessible to all of their customers and stakeholders, regardless of their background or abilities. This includes using plain language, providing translated materials, and offering multiple ways for customers and stakeholders to contact the utility.
Utility companies that incorporate these main concepts into their communications and PR strategies are better able to build trust and goodwill with their customers and stakeholders. This can lead to a number of benefits, including:
- Increased customer satisfaction: Customers are more satisfied when they feel like they are being communicated with honestly and transparently.
- Stronger stakeholder relationships: Utilities that build strong relationships with their stakeholders are better able to collaborate on projects and initiatives.
- Enhanced reputation and brand image: Utilities with a positive reputation and brand image are more attractive to customers, employees, and investors.
- Improved crisis management: Utilities with well-prepared crisis communication plans are better able to communicate effectively with customers and stakeholders during emergencies.
- Greater customer engagement: Utilities that are proactive and engaged in their communications with customers are more likely to receive feedback and suggestions.
- Increased innovation: Utilities that are listening to their customers and stakeholders are better able to identify new opportunities and develop new products and services.
Overall, great communications and PR are essential for utility companies to build trust and goodwill with their customers and stakeholders. By incorporating the main concepts of authenticity, empathy, and inclusivity into their communications and PR strategies, utility companies can reap valuable benefits.
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