HomeServe USA has released “Securing the Future,” a white paper that examines the customer relations challenges faced by America’s natural gas utilities and offers solutions they can implement to better position themselves as a trusted partner to their customers. The white paper is authored by Timothy Alan Simon, Commissioner Emeritus of the California Public Utilities Commission. Simon is also a member of the National Petroleum Council, a former member of National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) Board of Directors and a former Chair of NARUC’s Gas Committee.
Today, natural gas utilities in the U.S. are in the midst of perhaps the most exciting and challenging time in their long history. Utilities face a variety of challenges, including a decline in usage per customer, pipeline safety concerns from the public at large and the impact of new alternative energy sources. In the white paper, Simon explores the solutions that utilities can implement to successfully engage customers through a combination of smart, timely communications and the introduction of nontraditional products and services that position them as a trusted partner to their customers.
According to a J.D. Power report on customer satisfaction, higher customer satisfaction translates to higher profitability and return on equity. Data from the report suggests that partnering with proven, reliable service providers to deliver innovative products to customers can positively and significantly impact utility satisfaction ratings.
Many utilities’ primary, and sometimes only, interaction with their customer is the monthly paper bill. In order to be successful in today’s more complex and interconnected world, natural gas utilities must chart a course toward improved customer relations that moves communication beyond simply a commodity bill transaction. Opening a dialogue with customers, via surveys, customer service interactions and the use of social technologies, will help ensure the partnership is delivering on their needs. Furthermore, implementing nontraditional services, such as moving assistance, home repair solutions and mobile applications, allow utilities to strengthen their customer relationships and increase customer satisfaction.
“With a direct correlation between customer communication and satisfaction, and the impact of satisfaction on profitability, forward-thinking utilities stand to benefit greatly by taking progressive steps to connect with their customers in non-traditional ways,” said Tom Rusin, CEO of HomeServe USA.