Cogent Reports: Electric Utilities Have Forged Strong Relationships with Minority-Owned Businesses

18 Electric Utilities Named 2015 Business Customer Champions

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In a recent survey of almost 12,000 business customers across the
nation, Cogent
, the syndicated division of Market Strategies
International, found that electric utilities have succeeded in forging
strong relationships with minority-owned businesses and with certain
industry segments. This and other findings can be found in the Utility
Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Commercial study

Utilities earn an Engaged Customer Relationship (ECR) score of 796 on a
1,000-point scale from minority-owned businesses, which is 48 points
higher than the national business ECR score (748) across all businesses.
ECR is an overall measure of customer engagement and is comprised of
ratings on Brand Trust, Product Experience and Operational Satisfaction.

“What we see driving higher engagement among minority-owned businesses
is extremely high levels of trust with their utility,” said Chris
Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies. “These businesses
view their utilities as trusted advisers and are actively seeking advice
from them on ways to manage their energy consumption more economically
and build a better business climate. Overall, minority-owned businesses
are some of the best customers that utilities serve, with higher
advocacy and offerings usage.”

Utilities have been able to leverage their trusted adviser positions
with minority-owned businesses by encouraging them to use value-added
service options and products. In fact, minority businesses have offering
usage rates that are double that of non-minority-owned businesses. About
90% of minority-owned businesses have adopted at least one value-added
utility offering.

“Minority-owned businesses are also more likely to be aware of economic
development activities that utilities are engaged in,” Oberle added.
“These minority-owned businesses have much higher advocacy levels and
tend to make more positive comments about their utility.”

Across all businesses, the industry segments that score highest on
customer engagement are technology, mining and manufacturing. These
industry segments are also the most likely to have account managers
assigned to their businesses and, like minority-owned businesses, have
higher usage of utility value-added offerings.

“Everyone is aware that presence of an account manager helps raise
operational satisfaction,” Oberle commented. “But we found businesses
that have energy contractor assistance or are using energy consumption
management offerings by their utility have much higher scores than those
with account managers.”

However, utilities have some work to do to better engage smaller
businesses and female-owned businesses. Smaller businesses with $25
million or less in annual revenues score their utility low (707) on
overall Engagement, while female-owned businesses score their utility
low (716) on Brand Trust. This indicates that electric utilities need to
develop plans that enable themselves to build trusted relationships with
the diverse set of businesses they serve.

The study also names the 18 Business Customer Champions, listed below,
based upon the customer engagement scores they post.

2015 Business Customer Champions: Alabama Power, Ameren Illinois,
APS, DTE Energy, Entergy, Florida Power & Light, Georgia Power, Idaho
Power, NYSEG, OG&E, Pacific Power, Portland General Electric, Rocky
Mountain Power, Salt River Project, SWEPCO, KCP&L, PPL Electric
Utilities, and PSE&G

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement Study: Commercial

Cogent Reports conducted surveys among 11,644 commercial electric and
combination utility customers of the 59 largest US utility companies
(based on commercial customer counts). Utilities within the same region
are given equal weight in order to balance the influence of each
utility’s customers on survey results. Market Strategies will supply the
exact wording of any survey questions upon request.

About Market Strategies International

Strategies International
is a market research consultancy with deep
expertise in consumer/retail, energy, financial services, healthcare,
technology and telecommunications. The firm is ISO 20252 certified,
reflecting its commitment to providing intelligent research, designed to
the highest levels of accuracy, with meaningful results that help
companies make confident business decisions.

Market Strategies conducts qualitative and quantitative research in 75
countries, and its specialties include brand, communications, CX,
product development, segmentation and syndicated. Its syndicated
products, known as Cogent Reports, help clients understand the market
environment, explore industry trends and monitor their brand and
products within the competitive landscape. Founded in 1989, Market
Strategies is one of the largest market research firms in the world,
with offices in the US, Canada and China. Read Market Strategies’ blog
at FreshMR,
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Market Strategies International
Anne Denz, 617.715.7611