Despite the challenges of a pandemic and global financial crisis, utilities are easier to work with than ever, as Cogent Syndicated’s Customer Effort Index increases to 738 (on a 1,000-point scale). Obtaining phone service, making payments and acquiring outage information have improved the most among the customer touchpoints measured in the study. Based upon this index, 38 utilities stand out as being “easiest to do business with” among 140 of the largest utility companies in the US. These and other findings are from the Cogent Syndicated 2021 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study by Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm.
Being easier to work with has led to a significant increase in utility customer satisfaction as well, as the Customer Effort Index explains over 90% of overall satisfaction.
“Utilities continued making it easier for customers to do business with them, which is the sole reason customer satisfaction is also at all-time highs,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “Being easier to work with is leading to increased customer engagement and increased use of enhanced utility offerings.”
The highest-rated customer touchpoints are ease of interacting through utility websites and mobile access. Customers transacting with their utility through digital means have found it easy to navigate and resolve service issues.
“Utilities are doing a fantastic job satisfying customers. As more customers used digital service this year, they found it easy to transact, showing how the industry is quickly becoming a leader on the digital experience,” continued Oberle. “Our list of utilities that are easiest to do business with are also perceived as leaders on industry innovation and technology.”
The following is a list of 38 utilities Escalent has designated as being the “2021 Easiest to Do Business With” based upon their top performances on Cogent Syndicated’s utility Customer Effort Index. The utilities reflect best practices in making customer lives easier during trying times.
|Easiest to Do Business With||Utility Benchmark Segment||Customer Effort Index|
|Cascade Natural Gas||Natural Gas West||804|
|Columbia Gas – South||Natural Gas South||790|
|TECO Peoples Gas||Natural Gas South||790|
|Kentucky Utilities||Electric South||784|
|Intermountain Gas Company||Natural Gas West||783|
|NW Natural||Natural Gas West||783|
|DTE Energy||Combination Midwest||780|
|Piedmont Natural Gas||Natural Gas South||780|
|Oklahoma Natural Gas||Natural Gas South||770|
|Columbia Gas of Ohio||Natural Gas Midwest||769|
|National Fuel Gas||Natural Gas East||769|
|New Jersey Natural Gas||Natural Gas East||768|
|Texas Gas Service||Natural Gas South||768|
|South Jersey Gas Company||Natural Gas East||764|
|Washington Gas||Natural Gas East||764|
|Black Hills Energy – Midwest||Combination Midwest||763|
|UGI Utilities||Natural Gas East||763|
|Idaho Power||Electric West||761|
|CenterPoint Energy – Midwest||Natural Gas Midwest||760|
|Elizabethtown Gas||Natural Gas East||760|
|PECO Energy||Combination East||760|
|PPL Electric Utilities||Electric East||758|
|Toledo Edison||Electric Midwest||758|
|CPS Energy||Combination South||755|
|Pacific Power||Electric West||754|
|Peoples||Natural Gas East||753|
|Salt River Project||Electric West||751|
|Portland General Electric||Electric West||749|
|Spire Missouri – East||Natural Gas Midwest||746|
|NorthWestern Energy||Combination West||741|
Index scores based upon 1,000-point maximum scale
Escalent conducted surveys among 74,224 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 to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.
Click below to learn more about the full report.