The answer may surprise you.
Many utilities are seeking to dramatically scale both participation in residential energy efficiency programs and the depth of savings from those programs. As efficiency standards increase and the market for common energy efficiency upgrades begins to saturate, utilities are turning towards deeper upgrade programs like HVAC equipment improvements, weatherization and performance-based retrofits. These programs rely on the complex task of effectively managing large networks of trade allies.
A unique challenge of these deeper retrofit programs is that customers need to connect with contractors who can perform the work. How does a utility help customers connect with contractors while maintaining neutrality and managing to appropriate industry-accepted privacy practices?
We set out to answer that question. Based on data from programs run with EnergySavvy Optix, we compared the effectiveness of the most common baseline vs. alternative methods to approach this problem. Our findings were eye-opening: there is a dramatic difference in the contractor lead form completion rate depending on the technique used make the connection.
Contractor Referral Methods Analyzed
Utilities have historically struggled to solve the contractor referral challenge because of concerns about legal liability and unfairly favoring some contractors over others. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution because utilities face different regulatory environments and levels of market maturity. But, there is solid evidence that the method used has a big impact on the lead completion rate. Here are the methods analyzed:
1. Contractor List. This method is often standard practice. A customer is presented a large list of contractors and their phone numbers, often in PDF format, with no further guidance.
2. Limited Choice. A customer is presented with a randomly organized subset of contractors from the utility approved list. For example, the customer might be given a list of five to ten contractors instead of the full list, based on geography or scope of work.
3. True Referral. A customer lead (ideally a pre-qualified lead) is automatically sent to one or more contractors based on a randomly rotating list of contractors in a round-robin fashion.
Read more. Download our new white paper, Filling the Funnel: Increasing Leads to Contractors, which explores each referral method—the pros, cons, results, and of course, best practices.