Market Strategies International


Cogent Reports: Outage Experiences That Improve Customer Satisfaction

New Cogent Energy Gold report shares how utilities can enhance satisfaction and trust through outages

While most utilities see customer satisfaction drop when customers experience an outage, a new report shows that some utilities have been able to use outages to enhance customer satisfaction and trust in their brand. How they accomplish this—and what other utilities can learn from their results—is explored in Increasing Brand Trust and Satisfaction Through Outages, a Cogent Energy Gold Report from Market Strategies International.

Part of the reason consumer satisfaction and trust decline when a consumer experiences an outage is linked to the cause of the outage. According to our research, weather-related outages have declined by 5 percent, but planned service interruptions have nearly doubled from 4 percent to 7 percent. Customers are much more understanding when an outage is due to unforeseen circumstances than when an outage appears to be within the control of the utility.

“Our industry has long viewed outages as something that depresses customer satisfaction and trust, but our research indicates that it is possible to use outages to enhance the utility-customer relationship,” said K.C. Boyce, senior product director and author of the report.“This mindset shift can feel counterintuitive and uncomfortable; however, our research showcases multiple solutions that are highly effective—many of which are extremely low cost and easy to implement.”

Increasing Brand Trust and Satisfaction Through Outages is the first report in a new line of Cogent Reports best practice studies called Cogent Energy Gold Reports. These reports synthesize Cogent’s quantitative consumer research with strategic insights and interviews with high-scoring utilities and provide an in-depth exploration of current and emerging business challenges among utilities.

The Cogent Energy Gold Reports provide unique insights into how top-performing utilities have successfully managed their customer relationships. Increasing Brand Trust and Satisfaction Through Outages is available now and allows utilities to:

  • Understand where and how to focus their efforts to turn an outage into a brand-building opportunity  
  • Determine the critical path for outage communication improvement
  • Identify which technologies and approaches get results with customers
  • Connect with outage communication leaders at featured utilities

“Based on the depth of our Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™ research, we can go beyond telling stories about utility customer engagement approaches to identifying true best practices in the market,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Market Strategies. “When we saw that there were utilities successfully increasing trust and satisfaction through outages, we knew we had to dig deeper to find out why.”

About Increasing Brand Trust and Satisfaction Through Outages

Cogent Reports conducted surveys among 54,693 residential electric, natural gas and combination utility customers of the 130 largest US utility companies (based on residential customer counts). The sample design uses US census data and strict quotas to ensure a demographically balanced sample of each evaluated utility’s customers based on age, gender, income, race and ethnicity. Utilities within the same region and of the same type (e.g., electric-only providers) are given equal weight in order to balance the influence of each utility’s customers on survey results. Case studies in the report include Seattle City Light, Baltimore Gas & Electric and Mississippi Power. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of any survey questions upon request.

Read More About the Outage Report

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