Top Utilities on Product Excellence Provide Best Customer Experiences

Utility customers say that one-third of a great customer relationship is tied to their experiences with enhanced utility offerings. The national Product Experience score for utilities improves to 713 (on a 1,000-point maximum scale) this year due primarily to increased use of billing service options. Use of value-added environmental, consumption management, rate plans, service and retail offerings are in high demand, but continue to lag on customer use. Customers scoring their utilities high on Product Experience also rate their utility 453 points higher on Customer Engagement.

These findings are from the Cogent Reports™ 2017 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Residential study offered by Market Strategies International. The Product Experience score is derived from customer ratings across 130 electric and natural gas utilities on the features, benefits and use of over 63 products that utilities offer.

“Being perceived as more than mono-service utility vendors is the challenge of our time. With only 16% saying their utility is a trusted energy adviser and a mere 21% citing their utility as a leader on industry innovation, utilities need to showcase their energy expertise,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies International. “Our research shows that customers want utilities to go beyond service satisfaction, and position themselves as innovative product providers.”

In addition to providing lower service costs and increased revenues, the study finds that capturing value-added product demand also relates to improved customer engagement and increased customer loyalty and advocacy.

In order to compete in the evolving utility marketplace, utilities should consider:

  • Establishing product management business units
  • Positioning their brand as a trusted adviser
  • Developing innovative digital, consumption management and retail offerings
  • Expanding their company culture to embrace future innovation
  • Realigning company goals around the full customer experience, not just service satisfaction

The study shows that utilities lag on capturing demand for innovative offerings.

Selected offerings   Captured Demand*
Mobile Service Access   31%
Net Metering Rate 20%
Public EV Charging Stations 20%
Energy Efficiency Rebates 18%
Online Energy Audit 18%
Home Area Networks 16%
Home Solar 15%
Community Solar 12%
Online Marketplace for Energy Efficient Products 5%

* Captured Demand is use of offering divided by total market (use and interest) for offering


The following is a list of top performers on customer offering usage for selected broad product categories among the 130 utilities surveyed.

Consumption management programs           Digital/online options           Value-add services
BGE           CPS Energy           Ameren Illinois
Delmarva Power           Georgia Power           BGE
Florida Power & Light           JEA           Cascade Natural Gas
NV Energy           MLGW           CenterPoint Energy - Midwest
OG&E           Nashville Electric Service           Georgia Power
Pepco           NYSEG           Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
PG&E           Salt River Project           New Jersey Natural Gas
Salt River Project           SCE&G           OUC
SDG&E           Westar Energy           PSE&G
Southern California Edison                       RG&E
Southwest Gas                       TECO Peoples Gas
TECO Peoples Gas                        

About the Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Residential report

Cogent Reports conducted surveys among 59,823 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 130 largest US utility companies (based on residential customer counts). The sample design uses US census data and strict quotas to ensure a demographically balanced sample of each evaluated utility’s customers based on age, gender, income, race and ethnicity. Utilities within the same region and of the same type (e.g., electric-only providers) are given equal weight in order to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of any survey questions upon request.

About Market Strategies International

Market Strategies International is a leading provider of research and consulting services to utility management, trusted by the world’s most successful organizations to help them thrive. We blend primary research with data from our syndicated, benchmarking and self-funded studies to provide clients with exceptional research insight that helps solve their challenges. Our research specialties include brand, communications, CX, product development and segmentation. Our syndicated products, known as Cogent Reports, help clients understand the market environment, explore industry trends and monitor their brand within the competitive landscape. Founded in 1989, Market Strategies is one of the largest market research firms in the world. Read Market Strategies’ blog at FreshMR, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.