January 29, 2015
iFactor Clients Earn Top Scores in 2014 JD Power Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Survey
According to a recent press release from JD Power, electric utilities experienced the highest customer satisfaction from business customers since 2009. Additionally, 80% of utilities surveyed have experienced growth in business customer satisfaction two years running.
Key findings from the 2014 survey indicate that this increased customer satisfaction can be attributed to investments in utility customer communication and self-service technologies. For instance, utilities that provided power outage information for their customers scored an average of 713 points in the power quality and reliability category, 143 points higher than utilities which did not provide outage information. Also, utilities scored 74 more points in the communications satisfaction category when a utility customer could recall an instance of communication with their utility in 2014, than utilities whose customers could not remember engaging with their utility.
The utilities that earned the highest customer satisfaction ratings from the survey have implemented a variety of customer communication technologies in the past couple of years. PSE&G earned the highest customer satisfaction rating of large Eastern utilities (85,000+ customers) with a rating of 685 points, which is 26 points above average. One of the utility’s notable customer communications tools is its mobile-optimized power outage map. The map provides customers with very detailed information, including municipal-level outage data, outage causes, and estimated restoration time.
Delmarva Power scored the highest for midsize utilities (25,000 to 85,000 customers) in the region with a rating of 691 points, 47 points above the average. Similar to PSE&G, Delmarva has an outage map with very detailed information at the municipal level. Delmarva also recently re-launched its mobile app with several enhancements, including features allowing customers to view and pay bills, monitor energy usage, and get outage information.
In the South region, Southern Company’s Georgia Power earned the highest rating of 731 points, 33 points above the average for the region. Over the past couple of years, Georgia Power has made significant investments in customer self-service technology, including the development of a power outage map and a streetlight outage map. In November 2014, the utility launched a new Outage Alert service and preference management system for customers to report power outages and receive estimated restoration times via text message, email, or automated phone call. Gulf Power, a sister company to Georgia Power, earned the highest score in the South for midsize utilities with a rating of 732 points, 42 points above the average. Gulf Power also offers an outage map available on the web and via mobile app and an outage alert and preference management system with similar functionality to Georgia Power’s.
Data from the survey also indicates that business customers are increasingly using self-service technology to resolve issues with their utility. From 2009 to 2015, the percentage of business customers using online accounts grew from 33% to 57%. Further, 72% of customers resolve their issues online during their first attempt, compared to 69% of customers who resolve their issue the first time when contacting a call center. Utility customers have spoken, and self-service technology is now outperforming customer service representatives.