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|
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.