Utility Business Customer Engagement Declines for the First Time
Cambridge, MA, USA, Dec, 2017 -- Energy utilities lost ground with their business customers this year, with the industry scoring 760 (on a 1,000-point scale), according to Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Business, a Cogent Reports™ study from Market Strategies International. This is a significant 20-point decrease from 2016.
The study measures Engaged Customer Relationships (ECR) on a weighted balanced scorecard approach by surveying business customers of 60 utilities on Brand Trust, Product Experience and Service Satisfaction. All factors have declined significantly, even though businesses say they have had fewer outages or safety events and improved service experiences.
This year, 18 Business Customer Champion utilities stand out among their industry peers by posting the highest ECR scores among all customer sizes, from small to key accounts. They also post the highest scores on customer satisfaction and brand attachment.
While Business Customer Champions demonstrate strong engagement across all business customer types, many utilities have focused on developing strong managed account programs. Having an account manager provides a 16-point premium on our ECR score over the industry average. Of the managed accounts, 87% use some offering, product or service beyond the core utility service, including alternative rate plans and energy consumption programs. Additionally, even when interacting with self-service channels, managed accounts have higher scores, with users of utility websites, mobile apps and/or web and social media scoring above 800 on ECR.
Top 10 Managed Account Utility Programs*
* Based upon highest ECR scores for businesses citing they have an account manager as primary point of contact
"Our list of Business Customer Champions are utilities that have developed strong relationships among all businesses they serve, from SMBs to managed accounts," said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies International. "It is important for utilities to form strong relationships with their business customers beyond service experiences to protect their franchises. Over half of business customers say they would consider obtaining their power from some other provider, such as a retailer, high-tech company (such as Apple, Google or Tesla) or onsite generation."
The utilities earning the 2017 Business Customer Champion designation represent best practices in how they have grown strong customer relationships, built trusted brands and developed operational satisfaction among their business customers.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Date Posted: Friday, December 22, 2017
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