Trade Ally Management 2.0: Leveraging Purpose-Built Software

Aug 12, 2014

It is no secret that utilities and their demand side management (DSM) initiatives are no longer the same as they once were—there is increased pressure to deliver higher savings with limited resources. An often overlooked and untapped resource at utilities’ fingertips is their trade ally/contractor network. Trade allies can play a crucial role in helping utilities to meet their DSM/EE savings goals, improve customer experience and satisfaction, and contribute to ongoing program participation. Adopting a software-driven approach to trade ally management is a powerful way for utilities to meet growing expectations while reducing administrative costs and gaining complete visibility into their trade ally network.

One of the largest utilities in the U.S. partnered with Nexant to bring a strategic approach to implementing and maintaining their trade ally network. With over 1600 trade allies, it was essential that the utility program managers transform their approach to trade ally engagement. Leveraging purpose-built software has transformed how this utility runs, manages, and maintains their trade ally network. With over 20,000 unique visits to its trade ally network portal over the course of three years, 54% are returning visitors and 46% are new visitors to the site. Both of these metrics are key as they demonstrate that the utility’s trade allies are power users and returning consistently to take advantage of things such as training and program information. This also demonstrates that the trade ally network is continuing to grow and successfully driving new traffic to their portal by deploying program outreach and education—ultimately contributing to the success of the utility’s DSM and energy efficiency programs.

Utilities are increasingly recognizing the importance of adopting a software-driven approach and reaping the benefits. Here are a few questions to consider when thinking about your current trade ally management strategy: 

  • Are you prepared to meet growing customer demands?
  • How active are your trade allies?
  • Do you know where your future energy savings projects are coming from?
  • Are you able to tie your trade ally and customer participation into your back office operations?