Xcel Energy monitored customer perceptions of the company’s performance through the Voice of the Customer (VOC) market research initiatives in 2014. VOC is a continual study where randomly selected customers are interviewed about various aspects of Xcel Energy, including reliability, communications, pricing, company programs and customer service.
In 2014, 94 percent of customers gave Xcel Energy positive marks for overall satisfaction. Xcel Energy’s commitment to customers was validated through historic high positive feedback related to the company’s concern for safety, support of renewable energy sources and delivery of reliable electricity service. Value to customers remained high for the second year as well, driven by favorable ratings of reasonable electricity rates and continually rising familiarity with energy efficiency programs offered. Finally, customers continue to provide high positive scores to Xcel Energy for being a good corporate citizen.
Beginning in 2015, we will monitor relationships between Xcel Energy and our residential and small- to medium-sized customers through the Customer Engagement Index (CEI), which evaluates three key components: brand trust, operational excellence and product experience. We will continue to survey large customers through our Voice of the Customer (VOC) relationship study.
VOC Relationship, Percent Positive (6-10 Scores, 0-10 Scale)
Multiple research sources show that customers engage with utilities for a very small amount of time—on average, only six minutes per year. Each customer touch point is an opportunity to build trust and relationships with our customers. We do this by adding convenience to all interactions, delivering digital improvements and driving engagement and participation.
At Xcel Energy, customer experience means focusing on customer perspectives to identify and deliver valuable solutions that can transform their experience with us. In 2013, Xcel Energy established a customer experience strategy focused on fine-tuning the company’s customer touch points in an initiative called “Moments that Matter”. The four “Moments that Matter” are our best opportunities to change customer perceptions:
- Start My Service: Building a Strong Relationship
Start My Service focuses on making a strong and lasting first impression that fosters trust and leaves the customer wanting to engage further with Xcel Energy. This moment addresses more than just the start service transaction—it sets a path for Xcel Energy to engage customers from day one.
- Pay My Bill: Delivering Convenience and Choice
Pay My Bill addresses account management, billing and payment touch points for all customers. This moment is unique because there is consistent engagement—every customer experiences this in some way. There is a substantial opportunity to build relationships by informing customers of convenient and easy bill payment choices that align with their expectations. The Pay My Bill moment focuses on shifting away from a one-size-fits-all approach toward targeted and dynamic programs and messaging.
- Understand My Outage: Providing Accurate, Relevant and Timely Information
Understand My Outage is built on the understanding that during outage events, customers want updated information to manage their lives and make decisions while their power is being restored. Research shows that customers value having accurate information and easy-to-use tools.
- Manage My Energy: Engaging Through the Right Choices
Manage My Energy focuses on building and nurturing ongoing relationships with customers. It positions Xcel Energy as a trusted energy resource by delivering choices that meet customer needs and expectations.
Redesigned Website and New Outage Map
Late in 2014, we launched a redesigned website based on customer feedback. The site has a fresh look, additional tools, enhanced performance and more relevant organization. It also is mobile-friendly, so customers can find the information they need no matter where they are. Key elements of the new site include:
- A simplified design
- Faster navigation
- More interactive elements
- Automatic recognition of the customer’s location
- New and enhanced online forms and tools
Also in 2014, an improved electric outage map was added to our website. Customers can report and monitor outages online, learning how many customers are affected by the outage in their area and when service is expected to be restored. In early 2015, a customer preference center will be introduced that offers proactive phone, text or email notifications on outage events to provide an even higher level of personalization and service. The new outage map is accessible at outagemap-xcelenergy.com.
Education and Outreach
Xcel Energy’s Education and Outreach program is designed to promote and encourage participation in our energy efficiency and renewable programs. We do this by leveraging partnerships and sponsorships to meet customers in the communities where they live and provide information in a compelling way. In 2014, the program yielded 4,000 direct sign-ups to our energy efficiency and renewable programs. We gained exposure to more than 3 million people at community events and generated 21,000 targeted customer leads.
‘This is How’ Videos Help Customers Save Energy and Money
Xcel Energy has introduced a new video series: This is How features 15 how-to videos demonstrating a range of conservation behaviors and projects to help customers save energy and money.Details
Xcel Energy has monitored scam activity reported by customers for several years. After scam activity increased in 2014, we launched an awareness campaign and technology changes that are proving effective in protecting customers. Scammers try various ways to trick customers into paying them money by threatening to turn off their service. All types of customers have been targeted, especially small business customers.
The awareness campaign provided guidance to customers through bill messages, emails and other communications. On the technology side, additional levels of security are being added to the company’s Interactive Voice Response phone system before customers are provided certain account information. Xcel Energy’s Security Services team also works with law enforcement agencies to track scam reports received from customers, monitor trends and share the findings. At the end of last year, we estimated these changes helped reduce the number of customers victimized through scams by 60 percent.