Fogg’s model explains why energy behaviour is so hard to change

For most of us, energy isn’t the first thing we think of when we wake up in the morning. We may be concerned about climate change or even engaged in the fight to stop it, but have the headspace for kWhs, let alone for changing how we behave as consumers. Our industry, more than most, has something to learn from behavioural science.

Following on to our previous post about our webinar, named “Can customers care?” with applied behavioural scientist Guy Champniss from Meltwater Consulting, we continue to explore some of the concepts introduced by Guy in the session.

Fogg explains why we do things (and why we don’t)

In the webinar, Guy referenced behavioural scientist BJ Fogg’s model (more reading BJ Fogg’s Behaviour Model: A Framework for Behavior Change), which breaks all behaviour down to three underlying conditions: (1) Motivation, (2) Ability and (3) Trigger.

To use the example Guy gave in the session, if your phone rings and you don’t answer, it means one of the three conditions are not met, such as:

  1. You didn’t want to speak to the person calling you (Motivation was missing)
  2. You were in the shower and was unable to take the call (Ability was missing)
  3. You didn’t hear the phone ringing (the Trigger was missing)

In energy, we often find that all three of Fogg’s conditions are unmet, explaining why we only think about energy some 10 minutes per year, despite our conviction of the importance of the energy transition. Yet we keep telling ourselves that switching energy suppliers is the only thing we can do about our bills.

So what’s Eliq’s approach to the Fogg model?

At Eliq, behavioural science is always on our mind. As we help utilities empower their customers them to better manage their energy, we’re addressing all three areas:

  • Motivation by showing users their progress (gently tapping that competitive nerve) and translating the impact into economic savings and climate impact
  • Ability by offering direct and personalised suggestions for actions the user can take to make that change
  • Trigger by notifying the user directly when something needs their attention, at a time when they are most likely to engage

Can energy customers care?

Absolutely — utilities who use Eliq’s customer engagement platform convert up to 40% of their customers to become digital users, engaging with energy 5–12x the industry average. 91% of surveyed users say the app has helped them save energy and 62% has made purchase decisions informed by their app over a 5-year period.

During the Coronavirus lockdown period, we regularly host webinars for utilities, featuring experts from within and outside the industry. Get in touch at [hello at] if you are interested in attending or would like to access the recording from the webinar referenced in this blog post.

The next webinar is on Thursday 7th of May, at 13:00 CET/12:00 BST and we’re hosting Roberto Rodríguez Labastida from Navigant Research/Guidehouse as our guest speaker.