National Grid

How an innovative email segmentation made an energy company feel powerfully personal.

B2C , Energy & Sustainability

Digital // Research // Strategy & Planning

The COVID-19 pandemic left many people unable to pay their utility bills on time. For National Grid, an energy utility company, that meant a lot of past-due bills. The company was facing millions of dollars in uncollected revenue with no known end to this problem in sight.  

The company needed a marketing effort to recover that lost revenue and help customers understand that National Grid is there for them with various programs to help them get back on track with their bills. But with people as on-edge as ever due to the uncertain state of the world, the messaging had to be the perfect balance of sensitivity and support. So they hired us to carefully set the tone and tactics. 

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Putting our clients in their consumers’ shoes.

Winters in the Northeast are bitterly cold, and with the mandatory quarantine in effect, people were spending more time than ever inside. This meant their energy costs could be higher than usual. We recognized that customers have different needs based on their financial situation—especially during these times. And given the large percentage of new customers in arrears for the first time, we created segmented communications customized to their individual needs. Segmentation was based on billing status, as well as personas deemed at risk to be in arrears.

Powerfully personalized. 

We deployed an email campaign that was personalized. The emails addressed recipients by their first name followed by a message based on what audience segmentation our research showed they best fell into: 

Audience A

Young green movers, educated eco friends, affluent conservers & effortless independents

Audience B

Seeking guidance & mature basics

Audience C

Customers in arrears

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Paying and understanding your energy bill—all on one page. 

These emails all drove users to a landing page that provided multiple opportunities to engage. Given how many new arrears customers aren’t familiar with bill assistance programs, we focused on education and helpful guidance by offering an informative webinar and a personal call from a National Grid representative. We also provided information about energy-efficiency programs for long-term savings.

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Results on their way to recovery. 

We saw positive results from the start. Thousands of customers signed up for the webinar and personal calls from a National Grid representative. After only one week of those calls, hundreds of customers signed up for a default payment arrangement (DPA), recovering significant revenue for National Grid. Another 500 customers have indicated their intention to sign up for a DPA. But hey that’s just what friendship is all about. Because friends don’t leave friends in the dark (especially in their own homes during a global pandemic,) they instead shine a light on a solution.  

We turn brands into friends.

The COVID-19 pandemic was a very difficult time for so many. We wanted to let the customers who were struggling to pay their bills know that National Grid is here to help. By offering customers innovative ways to connect like webinars and personal phone calls, we met their unique needs—and helped recover critical revenue that contributes to National Grid providing safe, reliable electric and gas power. 

Key Brand as Friend® drivers:

Hey! Our name is pronounced Mōw-rrr, like this thing I’m pushing.

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