E Source has been collaborating with utilities for 30 years and has been conducting large business customer benchmark surveys for nearly a decade. For the ninth edition of the study, E Source surveyed more than 1,300 large business customers, revealing the best utilities in business customer satisfaction as well as the top attribute that leads to high satisfaction.
The Business Customer Satisfaction Study (formerly known as the Gap and Priority Benchmark) is more than just a nationally recognized benchmark survey to measure utility key account customer satisfaction; it’s also a vital resource for utilities and account representatives that want to improve the value they provide to their key accounts. By testing dozens of attributes for importance and performance, E Source identifies the biggest gaps and makes actionable recommendations for improvement.
This year, E Source identified reliability as the attribute that large business customers consider most important for utilities. Customers also place high importance on trustworthiness and effective communications, especially during energy emergencies. In terms of large business customer satisfaction, AEP Ohio, Austin Energy, and Snohomish County PUD earned top honors.
In addition to being reliable, AEP Ohio earned high marks in a number of other areas, including satisfaction and perceived value of the utility’s account management team. AEP Ohio’s large business customers specifically noted the account management team’s performance on trustworthiness; ease of contacting; and appropriate communication, especially during energy emergencies. According to Greg Earl, senior manager of customer and community experience at AEP Ohio, “The E Source survey provides valuable feedback from our key account customers. The information we receive helps us prioritize our improvement efforts. We’ve made adjustments to our account management strategy that have helped us increase customers’ trust, confidence, and overall satisfaction.”
Austin Energy also performed well in terms of account management satisfaction and perceived value, scoring just below AEP Ohio. Overall, the utility’s large business customers were pleased with their representatives’ ability to understand the needs and challenges of their individual businesses, their trustworthiness, and their willingness to provide resources that help manage energy costs. “For years, Austin Energy has used the E Source key account survey to determine where we are performance-wise and where we need to go strategically. The survey results are a key performance indicator for one of the goals of our strategic plan,” says Kerri Davis, key accounts manager at Austin Energy. “I use the survey regularly to pinpoint where to enhance the performance of my team. In addition to the data, I value the insight and specific recommendations from the E Source staff.”
Snohomish County PUD ranked highly in terms account management scores, but the utility’s real strength and the primary reason for its third place finish was due to top marks in utility satisfaction and perceived value. Snohomish County PUD’s large business customers specifically noted the utility’s ability to offer a variety of rates, programs, and services and to provide useful information. Tom Hovde, key accounts manager at Snohomish County PUD, says, “The E Source business surveys provide us with great insights on all of our business customers—small, midsized, and key accounts. The segment-specific data and analyses give me and my team the information we need to focus on improving the customer experience and drive satisfaction higher.”
Members of the E Source Account Management Service or Business Customer Suite can access the Business Customer Satisfaction Study. Utilities that are not members of these services can purchase the study separately.
About E Source
For 30 years, E Source has been providing market research, data, and consulting services to more than 300 utilities and their partners. This guidance helps our customers advance their efficiency programs, enhance customer relationships, and use energy more efficiently.
Public Relations Contact
Kym Wootton, Vice President of Marketing, E Source