This IDC Energy Insights Business Strategy sheds light on the current adoption of social business and the general use of social media by companies in the utilities retail business, as well as on future expectations about such use. Leveraging evidence from multiple IDC surveys of key decision makers in utility companies, the report elaborates on customer demand for interaction with utility service providers on social media and the presence and current social business of utility retailers. By analyzing current practices, shortcomings, and survey-based trends, it then focuses on four key value-generating uses of social media for the utility industry, namely brand awareness and reputation management, customer information and engagement, two-way interaction and CRM, and business intelligence and customer analytics.
"Utilities are still mostly using the larger social media space as a one-way communication channel, while social networks serve relatively basic purposes such as gathering simple metrics, building brand awareness, and non-systematic handling of inquiries," said Jean-François Segalotto, senior research analyst, IDC Energy Insights. "While 67% of European utilities say that they use social networks to manage relationships with customer and prospects, only 53% respond to customer questions or complaints using that channel."