Skating to Where the Puck is Going

Anyone who has followed the career of Wayne Gretsky knows his answer to why he plays better than others:  Others skate to where the puck is … he skates to where the puck is going.

Today’s customer engagement game is a lot like this.  Most of today’s progressive energy companies are busy diagramming and analyzing the customer’s journey as if that was the true target.  They are not studying where the customer is going, at least certainly not as carefully as true competitive businesses.

Utilities should be studying today’s connected home as an early adopter indicator of where the energy relationship is going.  Anyone who does quickly learns that energy efficiency and even demand response is not where customers have interest.  It is all about convenience and control.  It is all about life simplification.

But, anyone who does study this also finds that today’s technology is way too complicated to get “over the chasm” as the book about this marketing challenge analyzes.  We have to get past today’s technology … and we are.

You probably did not notice that AT&T and Verizon have just released an alternative to our Wi-Fi dominated perspective.  There is absolutely no reason for a thermostat or any in home control to rely on such a high bandwidth approach.  This new communication channel is going to revolutionize our approach to everything the energy industry cares about … everything.  Wi-Fi is overkill for our industry.  And, by the way, the data costs for these services will be less than a $1 a month and almost all of the US is covered by this service … right now!

Customers are also on a rapid migration away from desktop and laptop devices to mobile … everyone knows that.  But the way they use the phones has eluded most … they are no longer “keyboarding” to interact.  They are now mostly voice based.

Check this out in your own life.  See how you use your phone to find things.  Study how you check on flights, find restaurants and businesses and even navigate traffic.

We have been busy getting ready for this next puck location using an easy common vehicle to learn how customers want to interact on energy issues.  We now have a skill for the Amazon Echo which is conservatively estimated to be 10 million devices in the US.

So, the puck is moving in very different directions.

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