At Groundswell, we believe that affordable clean energy is a necessity, not a luxury, and that we can’t afford to leave our neighbors in need behind.  Our Share Power© model allows solar subscribers to share their savings with neighbors who struggle with the burden of high energy bills – households that we call Empowered.  

With the help of a “Listen for Good” grant from the Fund for Shared Insight, we’re checking in with our customers regularly through a series of Human Centered Design sessions to tailor a respectful, positive enrollment and support experience for our Empowered customers. In our most recent session, we asked 41 customers how we’re doing and what we can do to better serve them.  This is what we learned:

Communication is key

Groundswell staff received got high marks on our communication skills, likely because we prepared extensively for these interviews. We started each interview by establishing a personal connection, we used interview scripts that we drafted and practiced so our messages were clear, and we actively listened to each customer and asked follow-up questions. Our customers reminded us to use easy-to-understand language when talking about electricity bills and how community solar works, and not revert to industry-speak.

Setting and set-up matter

The physical setup of a location can impact customers’ experiences and the level of respect they perceive from an interaction. Three of our sessions were held in a spacious conference room and a fourth was held outside a community sports facility. The conference room set-up enabled Groundswell staff to sit next to customers for individual conversations, whereas the outdoor location had staff sitting across from customers while other participants flowed in and out of the conversation.

We learned that the outdoor experience would be better suited for creative activity where customers are engaging with each other. For our design sessions, the conference room provided a better set-up given the individual nature of those conversations.

Appreciate your customer

Everyone's time is valuable, and it’s important for us to demonstrate that we value our customer's choice to spend their time and resources with us. This can be as simple as asking for the customer’s honest feedback and incorporating it into future work. We also heard our customers say respect and appreciation can be shown by using a customer's appointment time efficiently, thinking proactively about additional services that may benefit a customer, providing prompt and dedicated attention to a customer's outreach, and communicating requirements in advance so a second appointment is not needed.

Next step: designing community solar enrollment with these learnings in mind

With gratitude for our customers for sharing this feedback with us, Groundswell will incorporate these insights into the design of the enrollment process for our forthcoming community solar projects. By closely listening to our customers, we can offer a respectful, best-in-class customer service experience and show our customers how much we value them.