March 18, 2020 by Julie Elliott
“I’m in my yoga pants.”
Those were the first words out of my client’s mouth when I logged on to the conference call. We weren’t using video chat, so I’m not sure the reason for full disclosure other than working from home may have been a new experience for her.
I did appreciate the honest communication, and in this time of uncertainty, our customers do too. Delivering specific messages to specific groups keeps customers engaged because what you say applies to them. I make this statement frequently (queue broken record sound effect) but now more than ever, having and using data to drive communication is imperative.
In the electric cooperative world, we have had and will have the opportunity to share vital messages with segments of our membership during the coming weeks. Here are four examples of matching the message and the member:
1) Business customers – let them know you recognize they are a commercial account. By breaking out the list by type of business, you can pinpoint messages about how you are working to help them during difficult times. A video message to business customers from the CEO could build rapport.
2) Payment arrangements – consider sharing information with those accounts that will be impacted by changes to collection and disconnect policies. Use data to identify those who make payments in person to customize messages about alternative options.
3) New construction projects – members building homes may be impacted by work schedule changes. Communicating with builders and others involved in construction projects can provide important details about timing that members will need for planning.
4) Government officials and business colleagues – your operation is vital to many in the community so having a list of key contacts in your area can prove important for keeping others in the loop.
While this list is far from comprehensive, it provides food for thought to evaluate options for segmenting messages. Email addresses are so valuable in times like this, so another takeaway is create an aggressive plan to grow your list after the dust settles.
And don’t forget the need to gather data and have it easily accessible. Some might say you can never have too much information. I might agree… except in the case of knowing someone is working in yoga pants.