When customers are aware of and engaged in multiple programs, product and service offerings, satisfaction levels with utilities are enhanced. This is according to a study carried out by JD Power which is based on responses from 27,000 residential customers of 143 electric utilities throughout the US. The study is currently in its second year.
Variety is key
"Offering a variety of programs is an important driver of customer satisfaction because one size does not fit all," said Jeff Conklin, senior director of the energy utility practice at JD Power. "Utilities need to understand that while some programs are popular and satisfying in one demographic, various programs are necessary to address the needs across all customer segments." [Engerati-The 5 Steps Towards Effective Customer Engagement].
Overall, satisfaction levels improve as utility program participation increases. Satisfaction among customers who are not aware of any program is 587 out of 1,000 compared with 646 among those who are aware of program offerings but do not participate. Satisfaction increases to 655 among customers who participate in one program and increases dramatically, to 834, when customers are engaged in seven or more programs.
The result is engaged customers are self-service oriented and have less need to call their utility. This mitigates contact center call volumes by 21%, thereby reducing contact center costs. [Engerati-The Value of Utility Customer Engagement].
Among the highest-rated utility program offerings are social media tools that compare consumption and old appliance/refrigerator recycling. The least satisfying programs include a tool comparing usage to other households and time-of-day electric usage price plan. Products and services with the highest participation rates include e-bill (21%), level or equal pay plan (6%) and thermostat control (3%).
Arizona Public Service, Baltimore Gas & Electric, and Salt River Project perform particularly well in overall customer engagement through participation in their products or services, according to JD Power, while Dominion Virginia Power, Florida Power and Light, and the Sacramento Municipal Utility perform well in overall product or service satisfaction.
The 2014 Consumer Engagement Study is based on more than 27,000 responses from residential customers of 143 electric utilities that represent many of the industry's leading electric utility brands. The study was fielded in January and February 2014.