Customers judge their experience with any company in terms of cost, quality and service. Today, electric customers also want choices, more information and greater control of their energy use. And they are more likely to engage publicly, increasingly through social media posts, when they are unhappy. Their perceptions of how well AEP is delivering on their expectations can directly impact our reputation, as well as influence financial and regulatory outcomes.
AEP engages with residential, commercial and industrial customers using a variety of phone and online surveys.
Demonstrating that we care about our customers in every interaction is the hallmark of a positive customer experience. Providing reliable, quality, affordable service is just the beginning. We have to understand and anticipate what our customers want and be ready to meet or exceed those expectations. One way to measure our performance is through customer satisfaction surveys.
AEP engages with residential, commercial and industrial customers using a variety of phone and online surveys, including the J.D. Power Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM. The 2016 survey measured satisfaction among 137 electric utility brands in the U.S. Satisfaction is evaluated according to a variety of criteria: power quality and reliability; price; billing and payment; corporate citizenship; communications; and customer service. AEP’s results show that overall customer satisfaction continues to increase; AEP’s operating companies recorded improvements in overall customer satisfaction from the prior year. However, we can do better, and we are committed to improving our customer satisfaction results.
In 2017, we set a customer satisfaction goal for each of our operating companies to be ranked in the top quartile of the J.D. Power Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study within their respective industry segments over the next three years. In addition, this goal has been directly tied to our employee incentive compensation plan.
In early 2017, the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) recognized AEP and two AEP National Key Accounts executives for exceptional customer service. The team received EEI’s 2017 Award for Outstanding National Key Accounts Customer Service and the National Key Accounts Executive Award for Sustained Excellence in Customer Service. What makes these awards especially meaningful is that recipients are chosen by customers themselves.
In 2016, AEP’s Customer Solutions Centers were awarded the Certification of Excellence for the eighth time by Benchmark Portal, a global leader in contact center benchmarking, certification, training and consulting. The certification recognizes AEP’s effective use of people, processes and technology when serving customers. AEP’s call centers ranked in the top 10 percent of the call centers surveyed.