Although the J.D. Power survey has some limitations, it is still the most widely used customer satisfaction survey in the industry. By normalizing utility customer satisfaction measurements across the country, it has become a type of benchmark for performance year over year.
Critics of this survey have noted the lack of granularity in survey findings, small sample sizes, and the inability to tie findings directly to customer level data. This can limit a utility’s ability to extrapolate to the larger customer population or learn more from an unhappy customer.
Regardless of which survey instrument a utility chooses to use to measure and track customer satisfaction, the case remains that utilities that invest in energy efficiency have a powerful tool at their disposal to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Strategies for improving customer satisfaction scores
The mechanism for the relationship between customer satisfaction and profit in the utility market hinges on reducing energy efficiency program costs and one way to do that is by having happier customers.
To improve your customer satisfaction scores now and in the future, consider the following four recommendations:
- Take a strategic approach to J.D. Power or any customer satisfaction survey by using it as an instrument to guide and modify ongoing and future energy efficiency marketing and communications.
- Recognize the importance of energy efficiency marketing and communications in influencing customer perceptions and incorporate this understanding into the development of marketing campaigns, particularly if in addition to energy savings a utility is looking to improve its customer satisfaction scores.
- Consider specific program strategies and tactics to improve customer perception. This could look like offering different pricing options or clean energy programs as well as emphasizing the environmental and “non-energy” benefits of energy efficiency programs, such as improved home comfort, business productivity, home value, or competitiveness.
- Mitigate the limitations of the J.D. Power survey by using complementary benchmarking tools and shadow surveys that tie directly to customer-level data to expand on identified concerns and possible solutions. Dig into the specifics of your campaigns and programs to provide a more granular view that provides actionable insights. Our customer experience team has created an index that leverages analytics tools to create continuous visibility and gather valuable insights into how customers are experiencing programs at each stage of interaction.
Future success depends on customer satisfaction
By meeting and exceeding customer expectations for engagement and satisfaction, utilities can both improve their J.D. Power scores and establish a base of happy customers. That will help the utility reduce program costs, meet program goals, and position itself for future customer program innovation—making it a win-win for everyone.