Supplier Report Card 2015: Which Retail Energy Suppliers Provide the Best Customer Service
It's September, and it's back to school, even for energy suppliers! Global marketing research firm JD Power recently released their J.D. Power Retail Electric Provider Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM. Who made best in class this year? Let's take a closer look.
For the past three years, global marketing research firm JD Power has been measuring retail electric providers in competitive markets in nine states across the United States. This year's survey was based off of the responses of 21,774 customers of one of the 86 retail providers active in nine states.
Fewer customers are shopping for electricity
The study found that only 23% of customers plan to switch from their local utility to a retail provider in the next three months. Most customers said that the bill savings weren't big enough to justify switching, while others said that they were satisfied with the quality of service their utility offered.
Higher quality customer service is key
Unsurprisingly, customers who are satisfied with their choice of retail energy provider are more likely renew their contract and stay with the same provider. They are also more likely to recommend their provider to friends and family. JD Power found that 57% of highly satisfied customers say that they "definitely will" renew their current contract, and just over 60% would recommend their retail provider.
Customer satisfaction is highest where retail energy competition is most widespread
Overall satisfaction with retail energy providers was highest in Texas at , where the competitive electricity market is most developed. Pennsylvania, which also has a large deregulated electricity market, was second. Overall average customer satisfaction from the states surveyed was about 632 out of 1,000, up 6 points from last year.
So what does this mean for retail suppliers?
With fewer customers switching to retail suppliers, providing quality customer service in addition to great prices will be increasingly important for retail suppliers to keep existing customers and attract new ones. This can take the form of improving the online sign-up process (as more customers reported preferring to enroll online), or improving follow-up with new customers.
Top of the Class
So, which retail energy providers got top marks for customer service? The best in class for each state surveyed were as follows:
- Texas: Champion Energy Services came in first, with Green Mountain Energy and Bounce Energy coming in second and third place
- New York: Green Mountain Energy ranked highest in New York, followed by Agway Energy and NOCO Electric
- Pennsylvania: ConEdison Solutions received the highest ratings for customer satisfaction, followed by Ambit Energy and AEP Energy
- Illinois: AEP Energy came first, followed by Liberty Power and Nordic Energy.
- New Jersey: New Jersey Gas & Electric received the highest ranking from customers in New Jersey. This was followed by Ambit Energy and North American Power
- Connecticut: Ambit Energy came first, followed by Connecticut Gas & Electric, and ConEdison Solutions
- Massachusetts: Viridian Energy ranked highest, with Massachussets Gas & Electric in second place, and Direct Energy in third
- Ohio: IGS Energy received the highest scores for customer satisfaction, with Direct Energy coming in second place, and DP&L Energy in third place
- Maryland: not ranked due to insufficient sample size
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