The Results are in (JDP) – Businesses Want More from their Electric Utility

By Emily Rich on

two-workers-at-freight-company-talking-with-clipboard

Many of us in the utility industry keep a close watch on the annual J.D. Power Satisfaction Study to get a pulse check on how energy customers are feeling about their engagement from their providers. Unfortunately, the results from the J.D. Power 2023 Electric Utility Business Customer Satisfaction Study aren’t painting as rosy a picture as we’d hoped. Business customer satisfaction with energy providers hit an all-time low of 754 (on a 1,000-point scale) in this year’s study. 

So what’s to blame for record low satisfaction from this important segment? One factor is increasing power prices, consistently and unsurprisingly a top concern for wallet-conscious business customers. But another factor that rose to the top was customers’ perception of how utilities are engaging with and responding to their needs. On this front, there is a LOT utilities can do proactively to engage business customers. It’s no surprise that a large majority of Uplight’s clients – with customer engagement solutions hand-built around business customer needs – find themselves above the industry average in this year’s study.

Interestingly, in this year’s study, 42% of business customers reported their typical contact method is the utility’s main telephone number and just 15% of business customers say they have an assigned account representative. There’s a real opportunity to extend utility teams’ efficiency and effectiveness to make all business customers – even those not actively managed by a representative – feel like they are getting personalized attention. Here are a few ways utilities can proactively engage business customers with the resources they have:

  • Personalized energy-saving recommendations – in the face of rising energy costs for businesses, utilities can offer meaningful ways to save energy and money. Leveraging customer energy analytics, utility staff can segment businesses that would benefit from energy-saving recommendations and send them personalized communications that lay out the benefits of participating. 
  • New rates that can save money or energy – utilities often have business-specific rate plans that can help customers save, but awareness and adoption of these options are typically low. Utility advisors can provide proactive rate education to business customers, prompting them to digitally explore comparisons between rates, understand which one is best for them, and enroll.
  • High bill alerts – without lifting a finger, utility staff can reach business customers in their inbox with personalized outbound engagement alerting them when they are on track for a higher than usual energy bill. With cost concerns top of mind, as reflected in the J.D. Power results, high bill alerts can help business customers plan around their expected energy costs and make choices to course correct before they receive a high bill. 

This year’s results confirm what we’ve long known to be true: there is potential for an even greater value-added partnership between utilities and their business customers, and proactive and personalized communication is an important key to deepening engagement. This is even more important in the face of increasing energy costs, where utilities can help customers find ways to reduce bill costs. To explore how Uplight can help you fill the business customer engagement gap, send us a note at hello@uplight.com.

Industry Insights