The many faces of customer satisfaction—utilities will need to look at all of them 
Published: Mar-12-14

Previous U-Blogs have talked about the importance of customer satisfaction (here, here and here—clearly an important topic), and it strikes me that having happy customers, having loyal customers and profiting from either are different things. As explored in Accenture’s New Energy Consumer Handbook, customer satisfaction (CSAT) is a critical management metric that CEOs often balance alongside other factors like revenue, profit and employee satisfaction. Our research looked at many of the ways utilities and other companies assess, influence and manage CSAT in all its permutations.  Some highlights:

  • Corporate-sponsored or third-party CSAT surveys take snapshots in time to see how consumers feel and behave relative your brand and services. They do not necessarily show how to solve consumers’ issues or get at the root causes.

  • Transactional metrics and measures like “mean time to respond” or “first contact resolution” help improve the performance of front-line personnel and thus customer service, especially when as our research found, “getting it right” the first time was one of the most important indicators and drivers of CSAT for utilities.

  • And then there’s the fact that CSAT does not always accurately predict customer loyalty or stickiness, so some utilities in competitive markets use Net Promoter Scores—how likely consumers say they would be to recommend a provider’s products or services to others—as yet another index to help show how CSAT impacts a utility.

  • Next, social media has opened up a whole world of real-time feedback from consumers and mass sentiment monitoring, though we tend to hear only from those with the time, access and interest in rendering opinions online through Facebook, Twitter or other social channels.

  • More recently, some utilities have been looking at CSAT through the lens of the relative effort consumers must make to get things done with their company—set up service, pay bills and report problems—which is imminently more measureable than ever before in the digital world of buttons and “clicks.”  Texas-based Reliant Energy in the United States has used this approach, backed and managed by a team of people focused on making customer interactions and satisfaction easier.

What we’ve found is that effective CSAT programs use all these tools and more to define and deliver constant data and feedback for both lagging and leading CSAT indicators. I would love to hear about new and innovative ways your utility is driving the CSAT train, so please share!

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This is great, thanks!
Greg Hobbs   |   Apr-08-14   |  12:04 PM

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About the Author

Greg Guthridge
With almost 25 years of energy industry experience, Greg currently leads Accenture’s Asia Pacific Utilities practice, which encompasses a vast array ...
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