Utility websites don’t satisfy like other service industries do – report


Utility websites significantly underperform those of other service industries such as insurance, banking and credit cards, when it comes overall website satisfaction. So says J.D. Power’s 2020 Utility Digital Experience Study, which indicates that utility mobile apps show promise as a digital self-service solution.

The challenge lies with the majority of utilities who still do not offer a dedicated mobile app, according to the report.

Now in its third year, the study assesses how customers interact with their utility’s website and mobile app, as well as with the online social, email, chat and text functions offered by the 38 largest electric, natural gas and water utilities in the United States.

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“Customer expectations for a seamless self-service web experience have grown rapidly, driven by digital leaders in the credit card, banking and insurance industries, but utilities have not kept pace,” said Jon Sundberg, senior digital manager at J.D. Power.

“The one digital self-service channel showing some promise in the utility sector—the mobile app—is performing significantly better, but many utilities have not yet created such an app.”

Key findings of the 2020 study:

  • Utilities among lowest-performing industries in website satisfaction: When benchmarked against other industries’ self-service websites, utilities provide a significantly less satisfying experience. The average customer satisfaction score for utility websites is 839 (on a 1,000-point scale). That compares with 847 for insurance industry websites, 853 for banking industry websites and 863 for credit card websites.
  • Mobile apps show promise, but utilities are slow to adopt: Utility mobile apps outperform their website counterparts in overall satisfaction by a margin of 38 points (877 vs. 839), but fewer than half of utilities currently offer them.
  • App users skew younger: Gen Y1 customers are the largest single cohort of utility mobile app users (46%), followed by those in Gen Z (38%) and Gen X (34%).

The 2020 Utility Digital Experience Study is based on evaluations from 9,467 customers of the 38 largest electric, natural gas and water utilities in the United States. To be included in the study, utilities must serve 1,250,000 or more customers. The study was fielded in November-December 2019.

Click here for more information about the JD Power Utility Digital Experience Study.