Utility Business Customer Relationships Strengthen to Record Levels

15 Utility Business Customer Champions Named

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--()--Utilities have strengthened their relationships with their business customers to a record high score of 780 (on a 1000-point scale), according to Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Commercial, a Cogent Reports™ study from Market Strategies International published today. This is a significant 32-point increase over 2015. The study measures Engaged Customer Relationships (ECR) through surveying business customers of 59 electric utilities on Brand Trust, Product Experience and Operational Satisfaction.

“For business customer engagement, it’s all about developing offerings and targeting them to the right customer segment. Utilities doing this are benefitting not only their business customer base but also the vibrancy of the local communities they serve”

The fuel for this growth was an increase in ECR among unmanaged accounts, business customers not assigned a utility account manager. These unmanaged accounts now score 776, up 34 points from last year. Managed business accounts continue to score higher at 789. Customers with key account managers also score significantly higher on Brand Trust, indicating the relationship value account managers have developed with these businesses.

“Utilities deserve a lot of credit for building strong relationships with businesses that drive local economies,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies International. “This year’s Customer Champions are strengthening engagement with unmanaged account customers by offering them choices on rates, demand-side management programs, energy management tools, distributed energy and other offerings.”

The study finds that business customer engagement is best managed by focusing on six customer segments: Management Controls, Urban Core, Home-Grown Success, Outsiders, People Powered and Managed Accounts. Among these customer segments, Management Controls scores highest on ECR at 812. This segment typically comprises 13% of utility business customers and tends to be clustered in health care, manufacturing, professional services, retail and technology.

         
Utility Business   Engaged Customer   Brand Trust
Customer Segment   Relationship Score   Score
Management Controls 812 787
Urban Core 790 768
Home-Grown Successes 770 744
Outsiders 752 719
People Powered 749 724
Managed Accounts 789 771
 

“For business customer engagement, it’s all about developing offerings and targeting them to the right customer segment. Utilities doing this are benefitting not only their business customer base but also the vibrancy of the local communities they serve,” continued Oberle.

Below is a list of utilities that have ECR scores high enough to be designated 2016 Business Customer Champions. These utilities represent best practices in how they have grown strong customer relationships, built trusted brands and developed operational satisfaction among their customers. Individual utility scoring performances can be obtained at 2016 Cogent Reports Utility Customer Relationship Scoring - Full List.

         
2016 Business Customer Champion Utilities       Engaged Customer Relationship Score
Ameren Illinois       814
Con Edison 803
CPS Energy 804
Dominion Virginia Power 816
Duke Energy Florida 820
Florida Power & Light 814
Georgia Power 829
Idaho Power 809
KCP&L 803
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power 807
MidAmerican Energy 810
National Grid 802
NYSEG 852
Pacific Power 831
AEP SWEPCO 804
 

*Customer Champions were selected based on achieving a top quartile industry, top three regional score or being within 20 points of the top regional score on the Cogent Engaged Customer Relationships index (ECR).

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Commercial

Cogent Reports conducted surveys among 9,429 business electric and combination utility customers of the 59 largest US utility companies (based on customer counts). Utilities are given equal weight to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

About Market Strategies International

Market Strategies International is a leading provider of research and consulting services to utility management. We blend primary research with data from our syndicated, benchmarking and self-funded studies as well as Big Data to help our clients grow their businesses and brands. Market Strategies’ research specialties include brand, communications, CX, product development and segmentation. Our syndicated products, known as Cogent Reports, are the energy sector’s industry-leading source and diagnostic tool designed to transform how clients can maximize revenue potential, and identify issues and topics that will shape their business models and the future direction of the industry.

Founded in 1989, Market Strategies is one of the largest market research firms in the world, with offices in the US, Canada and China and additional industry expertise in consumer & retail, financial services, healthcare, technology and telecommunications. Read Market Strategies’ blog at FreshMR, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Release Summary

Utilities have strengthened their relationships with their business customers to a record high according to Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Commercial.

Market Strategies International