Xcel Energy interacts with customers like never before

Social media is a powerful tool that continues to be recognized for its ability to connect businesses with their customers. But, for most people, the thought of “connecting” with your utility on social media isn’t right up there with showing support for your favorite sports team or sharing an amazing dining experience at the new local hot spot.

Xcel Energy recognized this challenge and for the past three years has worked with Vladimir Jones to create and implement a strategic social program to build a collaborative and robust social media presence.  As a result, Xcel Energy has been connecting to and speaking with customers like never before. And, the response from customers has been more positive than we expected.

XE wall post“For a Utility, you are doing remarkably well,” said one customer in a recent survey about Xcel Energy’s interactions on Facebook.

The question remained, though: Once you have your customers “there” (as a fan or a follower), how do you continue to engage them?

Xcel Energy recognized a greater need for deeper engagement with customers and worked with Vladimir Jones to develop two new programs for 2012, Efficiency Proficiency and Volt of Knowledge, both focused on creating fun and memorable engagements with current and potential fans and customers.

Efficiency Proficiency appTwo promotions were created to deepen that engagement – The Efficiency Proficiency sweepstakes and the Volt of Knowledge trivia game. Efficiency Proficiency, an educational customized Facebook quiz and direct community interaction, was developed with the goal of increasing residential audience awareness about Xcel Energy programs by season. The Volt of Knowledge trivia game was created to allow Xcel Energy to talk about things like their commitment to providing affordable, reliable service and their efforts to give back to the communities, and featured a prize that every Xcel Energy customer could get excited about, the cash value of electricity for a year (that’s about $1,000 bucks!).

Volt of Knowledge“I think it was easy to understand and participation was encouraged — plus the prize opportunities are great.”

“Surprised I was usually wrong! So I learned something!”

“Really liked it… would like to see more contests.”

 

This year alone, Xcel Energy Facebook fans have increased by 188 percent and Twitter followers have increased by 40 percent. Both Volt of Knowledge and Efficiency Proficiency contributed greatly to this growth because they were different, interactive and shareable. The games amplified Xcel Energy’s connection with customers by engaging them in the social space and helping to present a more lively side of the Xcel Energy brand, and the response from customers was overwhelmingly positive.

As we move into 2013, Xcel Energy is focused on harnessing their social media momentum and continuing to engage with customers across social media channels. They’ve listened to customer requests for more opportunities like these and heard the praise for their current social presence. As a company that strives to provide an optimal customer experience, it’s safe to say there’s more social media to come from Xcel Energy.

 

 

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