The most successful energy efficiency upgrade programs have customers who are willing and able to implement energy efficiency upgrades. This may seem like an obvious statement; however, many upgrade programs are struggling to reach their upgrade goals because they allow initially excited customers to slip through the cracks by not guiding them through the entire upgrade process.

The Greater Cincinnati Energy Alliance (GCEA) has implemented a number of ways to get more homeowners to follow through on the upgrade process. During the Residential Energy Efficiency Solutions conference, Lilah Glick, Director of Marketing and Community Outreach at GCEA, shared how the organization reached out to potential customers who got lost in the shuffle of sign-up sheets and assessment forms. By explaining the entire upgrade process to individuals, GCEA has been able to ensure that potential customers don't drop out of the program simply because their questions weren't answered, they didn't understand how the program worked, or they forgot that they signed up in the first place. "Don't let customers go," says Glick. "Go back to those who got lost and personally walk them through the process."

Like many programs, GCEA had a pool of "leads" or homeowners who had signed up to learn more about the program or to receive a home energy assessment. GCEA realized, however, that many of the customers were getting stuck somewhere between creating their profile and completing their home energy improvement project. Instead of accepting these customers as losses, GCEA had its full-time energy advisor make phone calls to each of these customers to learn why they weren't completing their assessments or upgrades.

Having an understanding of where in the process each customer got stuck has helped GCEA's energy advisor move them along to the next phase. GCEA tracks customers in a database using the following categories:

  • Created a customer profile, but didn't request an assessment
  • Requested an assessment, but has not met with a contractor
  • Requested an assessment, but has not undertaken an upgrade.

In addition to being able to track the status of each customer, the database is also set up to remind the energy advisor when it is time to again make contact with a customer. Of the customers the energy advisor contacted, 50% who had completed assessments then followed through to complete energy efficiency upgrades. GCEA now experiences a 40% conversion rate from home energy assessments to upgrades and an average project size of approximately $9,000.

Visit the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program website to learn more about GCEA's program or view Lilah Glick's presentation from the Residential Energy Efficiency Solutions conference.