Utility Business Customer Engagement Declines for the First Time

Energy utilities lost ground with their business customers this year, with the industry scoring 760 (on a 1,000-point scale), according to Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Business, a Cogent Reports™ study from Market Strategies International. This is a significant 20-point decrease from 2016. The study measures Engaged Customer Relationships (ECR) on a weighted balanced scorecard approach by surveying business customers of 60 utilities on Brand Trust, Product Experience and Service Satisfaction. All factors have declined significantly, even though businesses say they have had fewer outages or safety events and improved service experiences.

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2017 Business Utility Customer Champions (Graphic: Business Wire)

2017 Business Utility Customer Champions (Graphic: Business Wire)

This year, 18 Business Customer Champion utilities stand out among their industry peers by posting the highest ECR scores among all customer sizes, from small to key accounts. They also post the highest scores on customer satisfaction and brand attachment.

While Business Customer Champions demonstrate strong engagement across all business customer types, many utilities have focused on developing strong managed account programs. Having an account manager provides a 16-point premium on our ECR score over the industry average. Of the managed accounts, 87% use some offering, product or service beyond the core utility service, including alternative rate plans and energy consumption programs. Additionally, even when interacting with self-service channels, managed accounts have higher scores, with users of utility websites, mobile apps and/or web and social media scoring above 800 on ECR.

Top 10 Managed Account Utility Programs*
Duke Energy Progress
Georgia Power
Jersey Central Power & Light
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
Louisville Gas & Electric
MidAmerican Energy
Southern California Edison
West Penn Power

* Based upon highest ECR scores for businesses citing they have an account manager as primary point of contact

“Our list of Business Customer Champions are utilities that have developed strong relationships among all businesses they serve, from SMBs to managed accounts,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies International. “It is important for utilities to form strong relationships with their business customers beyond service experiences to protect their franchises. Over half of business customers say they would consider obtaining their power from some other provider, such as a retailer, high-tech company (such as Apple, Google or Tesla) or onsite generation.”

The utilities earning the 2017 Business Customer Champion designation represent best practices in how they have grown strong customer relationships, built trusted brands and developed operational satisfaction among their business customers.


Con Edison         803
PSE&G 791
BGE 790
PPL Electric Utilities 778
West Penn Power 776
PECO Energy 762
Appalachian Power 755
Jersey Central Power & Light 751
Penelec 748
National Grid 746
PSEG Long Island 742
Eversource Energy 715


MidAmerican Energy             787
Consumers Energy 778
ComEd 777
Ohio Edison 770
Wisconsin Public Service 766
Duke Energy Midwest 764
DTE Energy 763
Ameren Missouri 760
KCP&L 754
Alliant Energy 753
Ameren Illinois 749
Xcel Energy - Midwest 745
We Energies 743
AEP Ohio 689


Georgia Power   804
Entergy 788
Alabama Power 784
Florida Power & Light 783
Kentucky Utilities 782
Dominion Energy Virginia 779
Public Service Company of Oklahoma 772
Louisville Gas & Electric 767
SCE&G 765
Southwestern Electric Power Company 764
Duke Energy Progress 760
Gulf Power 756
OG&E 749
Duke Energy Carolinas 748
Duke Energy Florida 746
CPS Energy 742
TECO Tampa Electric 725


Puget Sound Energy   801
Southern California Edison 791
Xcel Energy - West 787
Salt River Project 784
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power 782
Rocky Mountain Power 770
Pacific Power 755
Portland General Electric 753
SDG&E 752
Idaho Power 750
NorthWestern Energy 749
NV Energy 749
PG&E 743
APS 719
PNM 649

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement: Business

Market Strategies conducted surveys among 10,031 business electric and combination utility customers of the 60 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, 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.