British Gas customer services
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Escalent has released the results of a survey conducted to understand the implications of COVID-19 on utilities customer services.

According to the study, utilities have in the first quarter of 2020 focused on what they can control – providing services to customers.

This has resulted in the utility Customer Effort Index reaching its highest industry score ever. The score has reached 736 out of 1,000 from 724 in the first quarter of 2018.

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Significant improvements in phone and digital services are helping utilities to improve their customer services and engagement.

Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent, said: “Customer effort performance has emerged as the most important influencer of utility customer satisfaction and explains 90% of overall service satisfaction.

“Top-scoring utilities on customer effort have developed easy processes across their critical customer experience touchpoints. In fact, customers who score their utility high on the Customer Effort Index also say their utility meets or exceeds their expectations. This translates to faster and more satisfying relationships that will ultimately benefit both the customer and utility.

“Utilities are clearly prioritising their customers and communities, and that’s fantastic. But while customers are happy with phone and digital service, they did indicate it was more difficult to learn about and enroll in enhanced utility offerings, which may impact the effectiveness of utilities’ COVID-19 programs outreach.”

The study comprises 62,122 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 140 largest US utility companies.

The top 42 “Easiest Utilities to Do Business With” for 2020 are available here