“I was impressed…to see the efforts AEP is putting into sustainability. We look forward to continuing to work with you on the journey.” - AEP Industrial Customer
“I like that AEP is putting themselves out there – showing ownership.”
- AEP Texas Customer during Focus Group
As AEP transforms to become the next-generation energy company, our customers still rely on us to provide safe, reliable and secure energy. Today, however, their expectations go beyond “keeping the lights on.” They expect us to be the trusted authority on what the future of energy looks like, and they want to help us define it. We asked ourselves: Does our brand reflect what our customers want from us and meet their expectations for the future? To find out, AEP undertook a year-long brand review that included extensive engagement with customers across our service territory.
Why was this important to AEP? As we change how we operate, organize and deliver our promise to customers, repositioning of our brand helps drive continuous improvement within AEP while making it more visible to all of our stakeholders. In addition, the market is changing and we need our brand to show that we are changing with it.
We conducted 32 in-home customer interviews, 46 stakeholder interviews with AEP leaders across the enterprise and conducted an online segmentation study that received more than 3,000 responses from customers. We held workshops and 14 customer focus groups to gather feedback, test messaging and develop a new brand positioning for AEP.
What we learned from this yearlong process gave us a clearer picture of what our customers want from AEP and what we can do to be a better partner and corporate citizen:
- Customers appreciated that we asked for their opinions and wanted us to show them, not just tell them, that they have a voice.
- Customers expected us to invest and engage in our communities but were typically not aware of the extent to which AEP is actually involved.
- Customers appreciated AEP’s dedication toward moving into the future with sustainability and alternative energy sources.
- In Kentucky and West Virginia – the heart of coal country – customers expressed concern over potential job losses associated with the transition toward alternative energy.
- Transparency and open communication are top priorities for customers.
Many of AEP’s large commercial and industrial customers are as committed to sustainability as we are. They have business goals that include increasing their use of renewable energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and a sustainable supply chain. These customers want to partner with AEP to help them achieve these goals and, most importantly, empower them to manage their energy use and costs.
In 2016, working with the World Resources Institute, we met with more than a dozen of our largest customers to better understand what they need from AEP. We always knew cost was a top priority; what we learned is their willingness to work with us to develop innovative new solutions to achieve their renewable goals. We are continuing this dialogue in 2017.
Interest in AEP’s sustainable business operations is growing among our customers because we are in their supply chain. In addition to completing the CDP Supply Chain survey annually, we are being asked by some of our largest customers to conduct a sustainability assessment of the company. We have committed to completing the assessment in 2017.
Learn more about our strategy for enhancing the customer experience.