Changeworks supports people across Scotland to save energy at home through initiatives that support people to adopt low carbon behaviours. We caught up with Aidan Tracey, Relationship Officer at our Home Energy Scotland advice centre in the South East of Scotland to hear about their work with our Senior Behaviour Change Specialist Shane Donnellan. This work led to a tailored engagement campaign to help householders to reduce their energy use by adopting energy saving behaviours.

Hi Aidan, so with this approach, what are you trying to achieve?

We ran a successful campaign to engage local football fans, in partnership with Hibernian Football Club. We wanted to get fans thinking about their energy use and take steps which would save them money and keep them warm and cosy at home. 

What’s the background to this?

We have a very good partnership with Hibernian Football club. We ran a successful engagement campaign last year where we spoke to over 900 fans over two match days.

On reflection, the number of engagements was really positive, but we didn’t actually see a lot of customers taking action on that advice. A good event yet we felt that there was more we could do for Hibs fans and their Club.

So what did you do differently this year?

We identified a way to show how energy saving tips add up to the value of a season ticket. We developed a resource we could give to fans which looked like a season ticket, to capture fans’ attention. Over two matches, we could then give this to fans as a starting point to open up a discussion with them.

How did the season tickets help fans to save energy?

From experience, we know the value of something that capture’s people attention needs to be accompanied by clear advice and easy actions that can then be taken. We needed to link this ‘season ticket’ to training of our staff and how those messages would actually work for our team.

Shane worked with us to develop staff training sessions building staff confidence in engaging fans. The training supported staff to use language that encouraged fans to act on the advice – to make changes to their behaviour which could save them money.

What were the results?

We had in-depth conversations with over 400 football fans this year. Rather than simply catching people briefly, our focus in 2017, we engaged the majority of these householders through in-depth conversations - either at the game or in follow up calls. We delivered comprehensive advice on energy saving behaviours, for example with appliances, heating the home, tailored to each individual fan’s needs and circumstances. Some of these fans have been referred for additional support including supplier switching, Benefit and Tax Checks and Home Energy Scotland Loans.

How did you follow up with fans?

Each fan we spoke to was given a call back based to their particular circumstances or needs. So if we identified someone as a potentially vulnerable customer who really needs some help, they were prioritised and given a call back in a week.

What did you notice following these calls?

One thing that was evident was that while some didn’t take action immediately they did take in-depth advice on the follow-up call. This was only possible because we’d established a connection with them at the match. They spoke to an advisor about all the things they could do or change in their home or through their lifestyle to help save energy.

Any other learnings?

One of things we encountered as a team was that at the first match it was challenging to engage fans due to the nature of the match, an important crunch fixture. We had underestimated the influence of the game, something I maybe should have been aware of as a football fan! But we learned from that for the second game. We all mucked in and set targets which we smashed as a team!

What’s next for Home Energy Scotland?

We have shared our learnings with our Advice Centre in the Highlands and Islands who’ve kicked off similar engagements at Ross County matches.

Hibs FC see the benefit of what we can bring to the fans, why we do it and what it brings to the local community, in terms of energy and money savings, so we have been invited back. We need to keep reviewing and refining to ensure we are meeting ever-changing customer needs – working with Changeworks’ Behaviour Change Specialist has certainly won us an advantage. Though there’s a long way to go till the final whistle!

If you would like to know more about initiatives to change behaviour, get in touch with Changeworks’ Senior Behaviour Change Specialist Shane. To find out more about partnership opportunities with Home Energy Scotland, or their initiative with Hibs FC contact Aidan. If you want advice on saving energy, call Home Energy Scotland on freephone 0808 808 2282.

Photo: Courtesy of Hibernian Football Club