LONDON, Sept. 20, 2000–Yorkshire Electricity ranks highest in customer satisfaction amongst the 12 largest electricity suppliers in the U.K., according to the inaugural J.D. Power and Associates/Navigant Consulting 2000 U.K. Electricity Supplier Domestic Customer Satisfaction Study.
Yorkshire Electricity’s top performance is due to its strong showing in supplier company image, price, meter-reading services, and billing and payment options.
“Yorkshire Electricity and Northern Electric & Gas, which followed closely in second place, have clearly exceeded the industry average as far as overall customer satisfaction is concerned,” said Jim Gaz, director of energy services for J.D. Power and Associates. “The remaining 10 suppliers also performed satisfactorily within a close range around the industry average of 100.”
“The fact that so many companies are near the industry average in itself presents a tremendous opportunity for them to attempt to stand out and improve processes in a few key areas,” Gaz said.
This study, jointly designed and independently financed by J.D. Power and Associates and Navigant Consulting, is designed to provide a standardized measure of overall satisfaction among consumers served by the most prominent domestic electricity suppliers in the U.K.
The study results show the key determinant of customer satisfaction is the electricity supplier’s image. “This is perhaps not surprising with a commodity product such as electricity,” Gaz said.
The electricity supplier’s image comprises ratings by customers of 13 attributes, including being considered a leader in the industry, effectively communicating changes to customers and being honest and ethical. Other factors comprising overall customer satisfaction, in order of importance, include: electricity price and value received; power quality and reliability; meter reading services; and billing and payment options.
The study also found that one in five customers had switched suppliers primarily due to cost considerations. However, 68 percent of domestic customers were either extremely or very satisfied with their electricity supplier.
When given a choice of electricity suppliers, 31 percent of domestic respondents stated they would be very interested in switching electricity suppliers if given a discount of 20 percent or more. The study also found that domestic customers, on average, spend 31.50 pounds sterling (pounds) a month for electricity. Apart from existing services, products that customers would be most interested in receiving from their domestic electricity suppliers are fixed-line telephony followed by Internet access.
“There are other issues besides the underlying customer concerns about electricity prices and reliable service,” said Jeff Conklin, Navigant Consulting Inc. “The variety and number of options to pay and receive bills, along with excellent customer service and constant and effective communication by the supplier go a long way in building a long-term loyal customer,” he said.
The 2000 U.K. Electricity Supplier Domestic Customer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 3,750 domestic customers throughout the U.K., which collectively represent more than 24 million household domestic customers.