Carl Lepper, utility industry analyst at J.D Power, commented: “The residential gas utility industry has committed significant resources to customer engagement, dramatically increasing the number of communication channels they use and consistently positioning themselves as advocates of safety who are here to help customers.
“That work is paying off in the form of consistently improving customer satisfaction scores that are being driven by perceptions of increased safety and reliability.”
The company’s Gas Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study is conducted on an annual basis to track measures being implemented by gas utilities in the US to improve customer services.
The study is now in its 16th year and focuses on energy providers in east, midwest, south and west states of the US.
The study focuses on mid-sized energy providers with customers between 125,000 and 399,000 and large utilities with a residential consumer base of 400,000 and above.
This year’s study comprises answers compiled from 61,000 online interviews conducted between September 2016 and July 2017 amongst some customers of 85 energy providers.
According to the findings of the study, residential customer satisfaction amongst gas consumers rose for the sixth consecutive time due to utility efforts in improving consumer safety and satisfaction through direct customer outreach programmes and residential safety inspections.
Customer satisfaction rose by 29 points in 2017 from the 2016 level. In addition, the study found that digital communication channels and alerts – regarding the status of utility services, severe weather and gas leaks – are increasingly being adopted by utility companies and positively impacting on their customer services.
“Communication satisfaction among customers who indicate receiving one of these alerts is 104 index points higher than among those who did not receive an alert.”
Consumers who received safety inspections from energy providers are satisfied by 88 points higher than customers who did not receive a safety inspection. [The US records growth in overall natural gas efficiency savings]
Some of the leading utility firms in customer satisfaction include the New Jersey Natural Gas, Elizabeth Town Gas, Atmos Energy and TECO Peoples Gas.
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