Utilities Are Making Service Easier for Customers and It’s Getting Noticed

April 8, 2020

Customers Name the Nation’s 42 “Easiest Utilities to Do Business With”

As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic and the implications it has on daily life, utilities are focusing on what they can control—servicing their customers and communities. This focus has not gone unnoticed, as the Cogent Syndicated Customer Effort Index reaches its highest score to date, continuing a long-term improvement trend for the industry. Significant improvements in phone and digital service are making it easier than ever for customers to do business with their utilities. These finding are from the Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study from Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics firm.

The Customer Effort Index reflects how easy it is to obtain service, information and offerings from a utility. “Customer effort performance has emerged as the most important influencer of utility customer satisfaction and explains 90% of overall service satisfaction,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent. “Top-scoring utilities on customer effort have developed easy processes across their critical customer experience touchpoints. In fact, customers who score their utility high on the Customer Effort Index also say their utility meets or exceeds their expectations. This translates to faster and more satisfying relationships that will ultimately benefit both the customer and utility.”

Oberle continued, “Utilities are clearly prioritizing their customers and communities, and that’s fantastic. But while customers are happy with phone and digital service, they did indicate it was more difficult to learn about and enroll in enhanced utility offerings, which may impact the effectiveness of utilities’ COVID-19 programs outreach.”

In Q1 2020, the utility Customer Effort Index reached its highest industry score ever, continuing its steady increase to 736 (on a 1,000-point scale) from 724 in Q1 2018. The 42 utilities listed below score highest on the index among the 140 utilities surveyed, and are named the Cogent Syndicated “Easiest Utilities to Do Business With” for 2020.

2020 Easiest Utilities to Do Business With

AEP Ohio DTE Energy OUC
Ameren Illinois Duke Energy Midwest Penn Power
Avista Elizabethtown Gas Peoples Gas
BGE Florida Power & Light Piedmont Natural Gas
Black Hills Energy – Midwest Georgia Power PPL Electric Utilities
Cascade Natural Gas Idaho Power Salt River Project
CenterPoint Energy – Midwest Kentucky Utilities SoCalGas
CenterPoint Energy – South Met-Ed TECO Peoples Gas
Columbia Gas – South MidAmerican Energy UGI Utilities
Columbia Gas of Ohio Nashville Electric Service Washington Gas
ComEd National Fuel Gas West Penn Power
Consumers Energy New Jersey Natural Gas Wisconsin Public Service
CPS Energy NW Natural Xcel Energy – Midwest
Delmarva Power OPPD Xcel Energy – West


About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential

Escalent conducted surveys among 62,122 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. Escalent will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.


Click below for more information on the full report.

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