Customer satisfaction is one of the biggest drivers in the energy industry, and industry executives are watching – according to the latest J.D. Power study, customer satisfaction has increased for the seventh consecutive year in the industry.

Improved prices and communications saw the biggest gains in improving customer satisfaction in 2017, the study found. The J.D. Power Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study also notes the utility industry implements customer satisfaction improvements at a slower rate than other industries, however.

Customers have seen cost savings, partially because of record-low natural gas prices, but also through energy efficient appliances and buildings, declining energy usage and a population shift to the south, according to a white paper by former California Public Utilities Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon.

That white paper also examined customer satisfaction, citing an Accenture Global Consumer Trends Survey that found more than half of customers switched businesses or brands in 2013 because of poor customer service. More than 80 percent of those who made a switch said the company they were doing business with could have done something to retain their business.

While the J.D. Power study showed an overall increase, the American Customer Satisfaction Index has shown slow improvement, but more gains and losses than an overall year-over-year gain. The ACSI also shows that reliable service, information, corporate citizenship and courtesy toward customers are among the top customer experience benchmarks.

Earlier studies have shown that customers want information and choice – and when a utility offers customers programs or services in which they can chose to participate, their satisfaction increases. In addition, customers want more communication from their utilities, the study showed.

So how can utilities provide more choice and communication, thereby enhancing their customer satisfaction? A partnership with HomeServe USA enables utilities to offer their customers valuable repair plans for electric service line, water heaters and other home systems.

One in three homeowners don’t have even $500 set aside for an emergency home repair, according to HomeServe USA’s State of the Home survey. HomeServe can provide protection to utility customers who aren’t prepared for an emergency repair and increase customer satisfaction at the same time – at no cost to partner utilities.

HomeServe USA has an A-plus accreditation from the Better Business Bureau and an award-winning customer service team. Putting the customer first is how HomeServe does business.

A partnership with HomeServe brings your customers emergency home repair plans that deliver best-in-class service from rigorously vetted local contractors. Learn more about how a partnership can benefit utilities and their customers at www.homeserveutility.com.