Utilities don't always find it easy to keep their customers happy. That's why J.D. Power and Associates recently released two studies, the J.D. Power 2013 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study and the J.D. Power 2013 Electric Utility Consumer Engagement Study. The studies tracked customer satisfaction and engagement, finding that engagement is the key to making utility customers happy. Here are the key results from the two studies.
In short, awareness and participation together can drive satisfaction.
According to J.D. Power's residential customer satisfaction study, utility customers rate 101 points higher on price satisfaction if they are "very familiar" with their utility's energy-saving programs than if they are only "somewhat familiar." The study found a direct correlation between customer satisfaction, engagement and participation in their utility's energy management program:
- Customers who participated in at least one of their utility's programs received an average satisfaction score of 679 on a 1,000-point scale.
- Customers who were aware of, but did not participate in, their utility's programs received an average satisfaction score of 642.
- Customers who were not aware of their utility's programs received an average average satisfaction score of 582.
According to the customer engagement study, the programs with the highest awareness rates were electronic bill statement and payment programs at 53%, far above in-home energy audits and Energy Star appliance rebates, the second and third-place programs, both at 28%. In fact, according to the residential customer satisfaction survey, customer who received an electronic bill rated 745 on the 1,000-point satisfaction scale, compared to 709 to those who received a paper bill.
Jeff Conklin, senior director of energy utility practice at J.D. Power, concluded that "creating awareness and motivating customers to engage with new energy programs, products and services is a huge opportunity for utilities to improve customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is higher when consumers are merely aware of programs, and then satisfaction increases substantially with each additional program a consumer joins."
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