- Helping SMBs boost the bottom line. More than half (52 percent) of SMBs in non-competitive markets and more than a third (37 percent) in competitive markets believe that utilities should help them better manage energy costs. More than half (52 percent) reported that their electricity expenditure exceeds 10 percent of their annual revenue. In fact, in competitive markets, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of businesses reported they would switch providers if that would result in a reduced bill.
- Tailoring products and services and aligning with SMBs’ business cycle. Many SMBs are looking to their utilities to help them manage energy costs, and they want tailored solutions, according to the Accenture report. As many as 87 percent of the SMB survey respondents believe it is important for utilities to offer solutions tailored to their business, and 53 percent said they would be willing to pay a premium for such services. As many as 74 percent said they are interested in products that would allow them to generate their own electricity, such as solar panels or wind turbines. Survey respondents said that one of the best times for utilities to approach their companies about new energy-related products and services is during the budgeting period for the year ahead.
- Helping SMBs attract customers. While reducing energy costs is an important goal for many SMBs, driving revenue remains the top priority, and utilities can help them achieve that goal as well, according to Accenture. In a related survey conducted by Accenture with residential consumers across 21 countries, 76 percent reported that they would be more likely to purchase from a business that was certified as being “green” by an energy provider. And, 53 percent said they would be willing to pay a premium for shopping at a business certified as “green”.
“Utilities that seize the opportunity to deliver a new experience to their SMB consumers, will not only fuel economic growth but also tap into valuable new revenue streams,” Guthridge said. “In competitive markets, they may also strengthen their relationships with SMBs, countering new entrants, who are increasingly entering the marketplace.”Methodology In total, 2,200 small and medium businesses (SMBs) were surveyed in nine countries. Respondents were responsible for or contribute to electricity and/or gas related decisions at their place of business. Accenture also conducted a survey of 11,154 residential energy consumers in 21 countries. Surveys were conducted online in native languages for Accenture by Harris Interactive. The definition of SMBs varies greatly across countries and across utilities. To obtain a globally relevant and balanced sample, SMBs were defined as companies having between 1 to 500 employees. Home-based businesses were excluded from the survey. The sample included a mix of different-size businesses based on number of employees and different types of businesses spanning services and goods-producing companies. Accenture has also completed four consecutive years of residential consumer research, surveying more than 40,000 residential consumers worldwide. About Accenture Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company, with approximately 261,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The company generated net revenues of US$27.9 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2012. Its home page is www.accenture.com About Accenture Energy Consumer Services Accenture Energy Consumer Services provides customer care solutions for competitive and regulated energy providers globally. We help our clients to develop and implement full value-chain solutions that achieve three key business imperatives: cost effectiveness, revenue assurance and customer satisfaction. Through new energy customer transformation, next generation customer solutions, transformational outsourcing and asset-powered services, we bring world-class industry-specific management consulting, technology and business process customer-care capabilities to our electricity, gas and water clients.