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Electric utility consumers who report having a great experience have a 133 percent higher retention rate and are 142 percent more likely to recommend their provider compared to those with a poor experience. These are just a few of the key findings of new research based on a survey of more than 6,200 electrical utility consumers conducted by Verint.

The research is based on the Verint Experience Index benchmark survey of consumer satisfaction with 25 leading electricity providers1 and includes CSAT and NPS rankings. The report shows which providers deliver winning experiences for each of the four core utility customer experience satisfaction drivers – customer service, electricity service, price, and website. Based on interviews with several utilities, the report also explores key COVID-19 challenges utilities have faced and how they’ve worked to understand and meet shifting customer needs arising from the pandemic.

Providers cite the need to adapt CX and VoC data collection, re-evaluate communication strategies, and become more proactive with contact center outreach.

When customers choose to stay with their existing provider, one-third cite brand reputation, one-third cite cost, and one-quarter credit customer service.

When asked about engagement preferences, digital was the preferred channel for research (66%), to pay bills (67%), to look for money saving tips (67%), and monitor outages (58%).

Of those surveyed, 19 percent of respondents had reached out to the contact center in the past 30 days. Of these, 42 percent had tried to resolve their issues via digital channels but had to then call customer service. Many reported they either couldn’t find information, found site navigation difficult, or encountered technical issues or errors. The research found that if even one-quarter of these issues could be resolved via digital self‑service, providers could save $945,000 for every one million contact center interactions2.

When it comes to outage reporting, the contact center is the most used channel. Only about one-third of customers (36%) said they used a digital channel to report an outage, compared to 54 percent who used the contact center. Of those who prefer digital, over one in five (22%) still used the contact center. If one quarter of those could be converted to digital self-serve channels, providers could save $495,000 for every one million calls3.

Utility customers increasingly value solutions to help them be good environmental stewards and reduce their energy usage, and customer engagement in this area can significantly improve customer satisfaction. The research found that CSAT jumps more than seven points for customers taking part in three specific engagements: smart meter usage, enrollment in energy usage alerts, and use of energy saving resources.

“Utility customers judge their providers not just at the service level, but at an experience level—just as they do with retailers, banks, or cable companies. Our research reveals the most significant opportunities for electrical utilities to provide experiences that consumers truly value and where they can achieve cost savings,” says Verint’s Kevin Daly, global VP and GM, experience management. “When providers listen across the customer journey and are strategic in using the insights from this data, they can deliver experiences that go beyond expectations and delight their customers.”

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