There are merits to both regulated and unregulated energy markets. Each model has distinct implications for the customers and communities in that market. What is universal is the need to establish a sense of trust between the provider and the community. Utilities provide an essential service to their customers. As we seen on multiple occasions, when that service breaks down, the results can be catastrophic. When that happens, that trust is put at risk.
What can organizations do to build and maintain trust with customers and communities?
Regardless of whether you operate in a regulated or unregulated market, a more informed marketplace will have a positive impact on both the utility and the community. The logical starting point is your employee population. Not everyone needs to be an expert; however, everyone should at least know the basics of how your utility operates. This is why it makes good sense to turn your employees into businesspeople.
Employees are your ambassadors, and they live, work, and play alongside your customers. They encounter customers all day, every day. Imagine if they were well informed about your business, how it works, and your strategy and why it makes sense for your organization and the communities it serves.
In their conversations with customers, employees could share the real story of why you’ve made the choices you have as an organization. They could help dispel misconceptions about regulated and unregulated markets. They could help customers make more educated choices, and these interactions would create mutual trust and satisfaction.
You can start by teaching employees the basics of how the market works, including the role of regulators and the relationship between the provider, the regulator, and the community. The next step is to build your employees’ understanding of how your organization works, including your strategy, how you make money, and the ways you serve customers. Finally, you need to help your employees find themselves in the system and create a line of sight from them to your strategy and to the success of the organization in serving customers.