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What’s the Secret to Better JD Power Scores for Electric Utilities?

For most electric utilities, their JD Power customer satisfaction ranking is the critical measure of their success. There are many reasons why these scores and rankings matter.

  • First, they provide an objective comparison to similar electric utilities.
  • Second, JD Power results signal to regulators that power customers are happy.
  • Third, good results tell executives and employees that their strategies and efforts are on the right path (and in many cases, bonuses will be paid).

With so much riding on an electric utility’s JD Power scores, what is the secret to getting a better ranking?

While there are many drivers of a typical electric utility’s score, few if any are more important than what customers think about their electric company’s power quality and reliability (PQR).

As FGI Research discovered during marketing research studies for the utility industry (and documented in this PQR blog post and webinar from April 2012), “the PQR score of a company makes up more than a fourth of the JD Power customer satisfaction rating.”

In a world where utility companies are facing rate increases, regulatory and other challenges, the improvement of their PQR satisfaction scores can be a source of real progress and success. While the research requires some sophisticated sampling, design, and analysis, the overall strategy is fairly straightforward.

Here are the high-level steps:

1) Know Your JD Power drivers. Understand the key drivers of your current JD Power scores (and rankings), starting with the importance of your PQR results. These details may be buried in your JD Power report or you may need to contact your JD Power representative to some extra data that is not currently in your report.

2) Conduct PQR satisfaction research among your residential customers. Conduct a PQR satisfaction study to determine precisely what drives your PQR results. Preferably, the research will break out the results by custom segment and communication preference (see our PQR simulator for an example). Additionally, it’s best to generate a PQR satisfaction simulator from the research. This will be used in step 3 below.

3) Make the most important outage communication improvements. We learned that the negative effects of power outages can be softened by the right outage communications strategy. Based on the research in your particular situation, identify the specific communications improvements (by customer segment) that will generate the greatest lift in your PQR ratings. You can use the a survey data simulator, which calculates and projects the impact of PQR satisfaction on your overall customers’ satisfaction. Test the outage communications ideas to ensure maximum impact for the level of required investment. Present these recommendations and rationale (improved PQR and JD Power scores) to the right executive sponsors for approval and execution.

Try out our PQR customer satisfaction simulator