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An important part of our customer experience hinges on a new strategy called Moments that Matter. The goal of this strategy is to shift from just meeting customers’ needs to making it easy and enjoyable to work with us. We’re working hard to address and improve the handling of the interactions that matter most to our customers. The four moments include:

Start Service
Building a strong relationship from day one
Pay My Bill
Delivering convenience and choice through billing solutions that meet different customer needs
Understand My Outage
Providing accurate, relevant and timely information when service goes out and when service is expected to be restored
Manage My Energy
Engaging customers by offering the right energy solutions and delivering messages at the right time

Improving customer experience provides an opportunity for increased customer satisfaction, which is proven to lead to better financial returns and more favorable regulatory treatment.

We know that customers today are increasingly interested in managing their energy services and are seeking more varied solutions from their energy providers. Customers want to make their own decisions around how, when and where they use energy, and we’re providing solutions that empower them to do so. As an industry leader in energy management and efficiency, we offer more than 135 programs and rebates for residential and business customers to choose from. In 2013, Xcel Energy customers saved more than 985 gigawatt-hours of electricity through a wide variety of energy efficiency programs.

Some customers also want the chance to make a difference through use of renewable energy. We were one of the first utilities in the nation to offer a voluntary renewable energy program—Windsource®—and our renewable product offerings continue to evolve based on the market and community interest. Our objective is to make renewable energy available at the right cost to the greatest number of people in the communities we serve. Today we offer a range of renewable programs. Windsource and the newly proposed Solar Connect program in Colorado both offer highly convenient and affordable ways for customers to access additional wind and solar power. We also continue to offer community solar garden programs and Solar*Rewards®, which offers incentives for customers interested in ownership.

Our vision is for Xcel Energy to be the preferred and trusted provider of the energy our customers need. Knowing what our customers want and being ready to supply it at a price that’s competitive will help ensure we’re well positioned for customers to choose us over other options available to them. Our approach is to adopt a competitive mindset. We can’t price ourselves out of the market, and we have to keep our service quality high. Customers are sensitive to rising energy prices, which requires us to be extra diligent in managing costs. We can do this through better use of technology and implementation of process improvements.

As an example, our Customer Care organization has managed to achieve the highest ever customer satisfaction ratings for transactions with our contact centers. At the same time, we’ve managed to keep our costs per customer flat or declining annually since 2008. Using our Voice of the Customer survey, we found that 87 percent of all customers are satisfied with the value Xcel Energy provides in terms of the price paid relative to the quality of products and services received. This is 2 percentage points higher than the target we set for 2013.

We’re committed to providing a helping hand to customers who struggle to pay their energy bills. Through collaboration with state and local agencies, as well as advocates for vulnerable populations, we’re able to offer customers who qualify assistance to pay their bills and access to weatherization services for their homes. In 2013, we provided nearly $25 million to customer energy assistance programs.

As a result of our 2013 United Way campaign, we invested more than $5 million in our communities through employee and retiree contributions as well as a company match, and our foundation provided more than $4.1 million in funding for regional grants that support job training and placement, science and math education, environmental stewardship and access to the arts. For 2014, we will gather all our community endeavors under one umbrella called Positive Effect so we can better track and leverage our efforts.