E Source Announces Top Electric and Gas Company IVRs
BOULDER, Colo., July 19, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Consumers are enjoying a better experience when calling their electric and gas companies’ interactive voice response systems (IVRs) compared to previous years, according to the “E Source Review of North American Electric and Gas Company IVRs: 2011.” E Source found that 65 percent of the electric and gas companies reviewed improved the usability of their IVRs. In addition, none of the utility IVRs reviewed in 2011 are considered to be “very poor,” unlike some of the IVRs reviewed in 2009.
The top-rated electric and gas company IVRs belong to Duke Energy, Portland General Electric, Florida Power & Light Co., NorthWestern Energy, Arizona Public Service, and Cleco. The top-rated Canadian utility IVR belongs to Union Gas Limited.
“The top-rated utilities have done a great job designing their IVRs with their customers in mind,” says Rich Goodwin, manager of the E Source Utility Customer Care Service. “It’s obvious that they are focused on making it easy for callers to complete their transactions.”
E Source’s comprehensive benchmark study, which has been conducted biannually since 2004, measures the performance of North American electric and gas company IVRs in meeting the needs of residential consumers. This year, 96 U.S. and Canadian IVRs were reviewed from the residential consumer’s perspective, with a focus on how well they functioned for the key tasks that consumers expect to find on electric and gas company IVRs. The reviewers judged how usable they are — or how user-friendly it was to accomplish the tasks.
Florence Connally, associate research director at E Source, says, “Providing a better experience with the IVR will lead to a better interaction with the customer service representative as well as encourage customers to take the next step and make use of self-service options available on the IVR.”
For the first time, reviews were also conducted using mobile phones. Two tasks, Make a Payment and Report an Outage or Emergency, were reviewed solely from mobile phones. “As more consumers rely on their mobile phones or live in mobile-only households, the experience of navigating a company’s IVR from a mobile phone cannot be ignored,” says Sarah Fiebiger, senior research associate at E Source.
Allegheny Power, Duquesne Light, and Baltimore Gas and Electric had the top-performing IVRs in this region.
The top three IVRs in this region belong to DTE Energy, KCP&L, and OG&E.
Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light Co., and Cleco were named as the top utility IVRs in the southern region.
Portland General Electric, NorthWestern Energy, and Arizona Public Service have the top three IVRs in this region.
The top-performing IVRs in Canada belong to Union Gas Limited, Toronto Hydro Electric System, and Hydro One.
The “E Source Review of North American Electric and Gas Company IVRs: 2011″ is based on the reviews of more than 1,200 calls to utility IVRs. These reviews were conducted between December 2010 and March 2011 by four typical residential energy customers who called 96 U.S. and Canadian utilities to see if 13 key residential customer service tasks could be found using their IVRs. The 13 tasks fell into three categories: general customer service, payment, and credit. The number of tasks found determined the functionality score of each IVR, and E Source used that score, coupled with the usability rating for each IVR, to rank each utility on a 1,000-point scale.
About E Source
E Source has been providing unbiased, objective energy business intelligence to over 300 utilities and large corporate energy users for more than 20 years. We provide analysis, research, and tools that increase the effectiveness of our clients’ operations, programs, and customer relationships. Our research analysts and consultants supply expertise in energy efficiency, utility customer satisfaction, program design, marketing, energy management, energy procurement, supply management, and carbon management.
NOTE: One chart follows.
2011 Performance Ranking of U.S. and Canadian IVRs
Functionality and average usability ratings for each of the 96 IVRs reviewed were equally weighted and combined to determine each IVR’s overall performance index number, with a maximum possible value of 1,000. The IVRs were then ranked in descending order by performance index number. First-quartile utilities have both above-average usability and more than 50 percent of the 13 tasks we looked for in this study.
Ranking Organization name Performance index Top quartile 1 Duke Energy 809 Portland General 2 Electric 772 Florida Power & Light 3 Co. 763 3 NorthWestern Energy 763 5 Arizona Public Service 721 5 Cleco 721 7 Union Gas Limited 710 8 PacifiCorp 707 9 DTE Energy 693 10 Allegheny Power 685 Sacramento Municipal 11 Utility District 679 12 Duquesne Light 667 12 KCP&L 667 14 NIPSCO 644 Baltimore Gas and 15 Electric 638 Long Island Power 16 Authority 636 16 OG&E 636 Wisconsin Public 16 Service 636 Pacific Gas and 19 Electric Co. 626 19 Philadelphia Gas Works 626 19 Georgia Power 626 22 Alliant Energy 620 22 NW Natural 620 22 PNM 620 22 Vectren Corp. 620
Ranking Organization name Performance index Second quartile 26 Columbia Gas of Ohio 617 27 Laclede Gas 610 27 Peoples Gas 610 29 Dayton Power & Light 609 29 We Energies 609 29 Xcel Energy 609 Omaha Public Power 32 District 606 32 Puget Sound Energy 606 Toronto Hydro- 32 Electric System 606 35 Centerpoint Energy 605 35 Progress Energy Inc. 605 37 MidAmerican Energy 596 38 Ameren 591 Connecticut Light & 39 Power 589 40 Hydro One 585 41 NV Energy 582 41 PECO 582 American Electric 43 Power 573 44 Austin Energy 573 Louisville Gas and 44 Electric Co. 573 44 National Grid 573 44 Oklahoma Natural Gas 573 48 Idaho Power Co. 567
Ranking Organization name Performance index Third quartile 49 Consumers Energy 564 50 SRP (Salt River Project) 560 51 CPS Energy 558 Jersey Central Power & 51 Light 558 Public Service Electric & 51 Gas 558 South Carolina Electric & 51 Gas (SCANA) 558 51 Southern California Edison 558 51 Washington Gas 558 57 NSTAR 555 58 Pepco 554 58 Southwest Gas Corp. 555 60 Manitoba Hydro 543 60 Nova Scotia Power 543 Southern California Gas 60 Co. 543 63 TECO Peoples Gas 537 64 Hawaiian Electric Co. 529 64 Piedmont Natural Gas 529 Memphis Light, Gas & Water 66 Division 527 67 Hydro Ottawa 522 68 Tacoma Public Utilities 519 69 Westar Energy 517 70 ComEd 502 70 Enbridge Gas 502 72 Dominion 501 72 Entergy Corp. 501 72 NB Power 501 72 PPL Electric Utilities 501 72 Silicon Valley Power 501
Ranking Organization name Performance index Fourth quartile Consolidated Edison Co. of New 77 York (Con Edison) 481 78 Black Hills Energy 467 78 Tucson Electric Power 467 80 Atmos Energy 466 80 San Diego Gas & Electric 466 82 BC Hydro 466 83 Nicor Gas 449 83 Questar Gas 449 85 Missouri Gas Energy 448 86 EPCOR 439 87 Reliant Energy 435 Los Angeles Department of Water 88 and Power 417 89 New York State Electric & Gas 407 90 Santee Cooper 392 90 TXU Energy 392 FortisBC (reviewed as Terasen 92 Gas) 373 93 Hydro-Quebec 365 94 ENMAX 342 95 Avista Utilities 324 96 Direct Energy 282
SOURCE E Source