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Electric Utilities Deliver Superior Service to Largest Customers, J.D. Power Finds

Study shows the deployment of joint planning sessions to assess customer needs is the key factor driving strong performance.

Key electric utility customers, such as manufacturing facilities, hospitals, universities, and data centers — which can often represent 30% to 50% of an electric utility's annual revenue — are more satisfied with the service they are receiving from their utility than are general business customers. According to the recently released J.D. Power 2019 Business Electric Utility Key Account Satisfaction Study, the key to achieving that higher level of customer satisfaction is dedicated account management that includes joint planning sessions to assess customer needs throughout the year.

"Electric utilities are proving to their key accounts that they are able to deliver the types of highly personalized, customer-centric account management processes that resonate in the form of better advocacy and higher levels of customer satisfaction," said Kelly Jackson, manager of utilities intelligence at J.D. Power. "Far and away, the most important factor driving strong performance with key accounts is the deployment of joint planning sessions to assist with customer concerns, issues, and expectations. This step helps demonstrate how utilities are creating value and fostering a real sense of partnership with their key accounts."

Following are key findings of the 2019 study:

  • Key accounts significantly more satisfied than general business customers: When compared with the results of the J.D. Power Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study, which measures the customer satisfaction of all business customers, satisfaction among key account customers averages 51 points higher (on a 1000-point scale) than among general business customers.
  • Joint planning sessions emerge as keys to greater customer satisfaction: Overall satisfaction scores are 159 points higher, on average, when key accounts are brought into joint planning sessions, in which utilities proactively address concerns, efficiency, and account planning issues, than when no proactive account management is in place.
  • Multiple joint planning sessions are preferred: On average, key account customers say they would prefer three to four joint planning sessions per year. However, the average number of joint planning sessions provided to key accounts in the study was 2.25.

The 2019 Business Electric Utility Key Account Satisfaction Study, now in its second year, is based on responses from 1340 key account customers of electric utilities. Overall satisfaction is measured across six factors of the business customer experience (listed in order of importance): customer service and management; delivery; price; communication; corporate responsibility; and billing and payment. The survey was fielded from January through September 2019.

For more information about the Business Electric Utility Key Account Satisfaction Study, visit here.

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