Utility customers derive a huge 94% of their satisfaction from the amount of effort they exert to do business with their utility, and yet the industry average Customer Effort index score is a moderate 730 on a 1,000-point scale. This means the biggest customer satisfaction opportunity for the industry is making it easier for customers to do business with their utility. In the latest 2019 Cogent Reports Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study, TECO Peoples Gas scores the highest at 802, making it the easiest utility in the nation with which to do business. Only 33 of the nation’s largest 140 electric and natural gas utility brands joined TECO Peoples Gas in this “easiest to do business with” recognition.
“Utilities have already made large investments in their operations to improve customer satisfaction scoring. The next step to optimize performance is addressing how easy it is to do business with the utility,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies International-Morpace.
The Customer Effort index score is a composite of how easy it is for customers to interact with a utility across service, communication and product touchpoints. The study explores what utilities can do to improve how they serve their customers across each of these areas to provide effortless experiences. For example, customers who indicate they had an easy service experience spend 50% less time on phone service, a win-win for utility cost and customer satisfaction. Additionally, while consumers agree that utility programs themselves are easy to use, many say that enrolling in these same programs is difficult. Customers who find it easy to work with their utility use more of its enhanced programs and offerings, leading to higher adoption rates and increases in customer loyalty.
“The benefits of scoring well on Customer Effort are great. Utilities that plan and measure effortless customer experiences have higher levels of customer support, loyalty and participation in their service platforms and offerings. They also have the highest overall customer satisfaction,” said Oberle.
Following are utilities that have made it easiest for their customers to do business with them, posting a Customer Effort index score of 750 or greater.
Easiest Utilities to Do Business With*
|Atmos Energy – South||National Fuel Gas|
|Black Hills Energy – Midwest||New Jersey Natural Gas|
|Cascade Natural Gas||NW Natural|
|CenterPoint Energy – Midwest||Oklahoma Natural Gas|
|CenterPoint Energy – South||OUC|
|Columbia Gas – South||Peoples Gas|
|Columbia Gas of Ohio||Philadelphia Gas Works|
|Con Edison||Piedmont Natural Gas|
|DTE Energy||PSNC Energy|
|Entergy Louisiana||Salt River Project|
|Entergy Texas||Southwest Gas|
|Florida City Gas Company||Southwestern Electric Power Company|
|Florida Power & Light||TECO Peoples Gas|
|Georgia Power||Texas Gas Service|
|Gulf Power||Tucson Electric Power|
Source: Market Strategies International. Cogent Reports™. Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential. Q1 2019.
Market Strategies-Morpace conducted surveys among 61,023 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 140 largest US utility companies (based on residential customer counts). The sample design uses a combination of quotas and weighting based on US census data to ensure a demographically balanced sample of each evaluated utility’s customers based on age, gender, income, race and ethnicity. Utilities within the same region and of the same type (e.g., electric-only providers) are given equal weight in order to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. Market Strategies-Morpace will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.
Click below for more information on the study.