Anyone who lives in Hawai‘i knows that getting your electricity from one of the established electric companies here is outrageously expensive. After years of paying too much and weighing our options, my husband and I recently became Sunrun BrightBox customers; Sunrun markets a solar energy storage solution for homes that includes a photovoltaic solar system and battery, which they call BrightBox™.
A primary decision with installing solar these days is own or lease, and we knew we definitely wanted to lease. The ‘con’ to leasing is that we won’t get the tax credit, however the ‘pro’ is that you don’t pay for the costly equipment, and just for your monthly (lowered) electrical bill. Other factors to consider, are how long you think you’ll be in your home, your tax bracket, and what your other options are when it comes to the money you’ve saved up—do you really want to sink it into heavy upfront costs for the tax savings you may get? You’ve got to work the numbers.
Archive Aloha: Conceptualize Your Financial Literacy.
Your financial numbers can carry a lot of weight in making big decisions like this one. Looking back on the entire experience however, I will now highly recommend Sunrun to everyone who asks me about them for another, critically important reason: They removed all the pain points, and replaced them with stellar customer service.
In my opinion, the true brilliance of the Sunrun Brightbox energy system business model, is that in providing their service, they’ve removed all the pain points you would have had if you’d opted to own your system (and grab that tax credit) instead.
Where we live, BIG pain points are dealing with our homeowner’s association, county permitting, necessary subcontractors in the installation process, virtually nonexistent maintenance support, and HELCO, the default monopoly here if you’re on the grid with your electricity. Sunrun handles all of that integration for their customers, and they’ve done so magnificently for us.
I will be paying Sunrun slightly more on a month-to-month basis than the lesser rate I would’ve paid HELCO if we’d opted to own our system, but the difference is manini as we say here—negligible enough to not matter. For here’s the thing: I’m happy to pay it, because I think Sunrun has earned it and then some. I willingly, enthusiastically support their business, wanting to remain one of their future-forward benefactors.
This is a lesson for all business models, and for all managers. To succeed magnificently, remove the pain points for those you serve.
Archive Aloha: The 10 Tenets of an ‘Ohana in Business.
Problem solving and Pain points
This is slightly different from problem solving, yet it’s remarkably different.
Sunrun didn’t actually solve the problem of having an electrical monopoly on an island, the how-to of harnessing the sun’s energy, or the challenge of storing excess solar power in a safe battery; those problems were already solved industry-wide. However, those solutions were still saddled with substantial pain points for consumers. What Sunrun did, was to solve the headaches associated with being a customer. They have proved, and have demonstrated within their customer service standards, that no customer needed to put up with those headaches any longer.
Becoming Sunrun customers did not happen quickly for us, because challenges still exist in the processes necessary where we live; the bureaucracy and mediocrity still exist. The only thing Sunrun asked us for upfront was patience during the time involved—they have managed all the moving parts, and endured the pain on our behalf. We have dealt with several of their staff, and without exception the customer service Sunrun has provided us with has truly been stellar …as a management coach, I would love to get a peek into their internal hiring and training practices.
Archive Aloha on RosaSay.com: Ho‘okipa, the Value of Complete Giving.
Pain points exist in every business.
They exist for all the stakeholders of a business, customers and employees alike.
As a starting point, I make these assumptions;
—Your business model should proactively solve your customers’ potential pain points.
—Your managers should proactively solve your employee pain points, and those which exist for any suppliers, vendors, and community stakeholders involved with your operations.
—Your leaders should be innovators in your chosen industry, so all pain points are eliminated once and for all.
If every business did this, the world would be a much better place.
Companies like Sunrun don’t happen by accident or happy coincidence: Great managers make them happen, and work to keep them healthy every single day.
Mahalo Sunrun, for leading the way. Call me whenever you want a reference.
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Preview of Managing with Aloha, Second Edition, released Summer 2016
Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business