Create meaningful customer communication

May 25, 2023 By    
Photo: bymuratdeniz/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Photo: bymuratdeniz/iStock / Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Companies that deal with some banks and most private equity firms feel the need to frame their business around trendy acronyms like DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) and ESG (environmental, social and governance).

While describing your business around those acronyms may keep the operating capital flowing, the messages to your propane customers should be much more localized and easier for them to understand.

Local communication

There are lots of ways you can communicate with your customers about doing business with a local energy company without using trendy acronyms to describe your business and employees.

For example, key in on the fact that all propane business is local. Your propane business may be a one-location, family-owned company or a multi-location business with regional or national impact or something in between. No matter what your business size, you have a local workforce and locally focused management. You offer local employment and opportunity for advancement in an essential industry.

Tom Jaenicke

Tom Jaenicke

Communications to customers about your propane employees (with their permission) can include years of service recognition, birthdays, training benchmarks and other personal achievements. This type of localized communication is something you won’t see from electric and natural gas utilities serving your area.

Make sure you are involved in your local community in ways that can make a difference in people’s lives, and let your customers know about the good work being done by you and others. It can be as simple as operating a collection point for the local food bank, supporting local scholarship programs or donating propane and barbecue grills to the high school boosters club, even putting on an apron and cooking for those Friday night football games. Your propane customers will be interested in your company’s positive involvement in the community, and it shouldn’t be hidden in a trendy acronym.

Environmental communication

Let your customers know about the sustainability of the propane business.

You offer on-site energy that doesn’t require miles of natural gas mains through rights of way that, in many cases, were previously forested. Let customers know that most propane tanks and related valves are made from a high percentage of recycled metals. Let them know that nearly 100 percent of your propane tanks and gas lines installed on-site are recyclable after decades of useful life have come to an end.

If you have propane vehicles in your fleet, let your customers know about the low carbon content of propane compared to other fuels and electricity. If you have autogas customers, especially school bus fleets, let your customers know that you are lowering the carbon footprint in their community.

Let customers know that conventional propane is already better for the environment than most forms of energy in common use, and renewable propane will be widely available in the future as we move toward a net-zero carbon world.

Some of the same points mentioned above are good for both customer retention and driving organic growth. Make sure your marketing plan concentrates on customer retention first and then takes on growth opportunities wherever they exist.

“About Us” and “About Propane” tabs on your website can handle much of this communication, and a periodic blog on your website and Facebook posts will help to keep it all current. Your digital face should be a friendly, informative one that is easy to navigate. Drive customers to your website with the ease of checking on deliveries, other service needs and paying bills. While they are on the website, your customers will learn about the positive aspects of doing business with a “local” energy company without having to interpret the meaning of acronyms.

Tom Jaenicke is vice president of propane marketing services for Warm Thoughts Communications. He can be reached at or 810-252-7855.

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