Market Research Finds Lack of Consumer Trust in Utilities

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1st July 2013 11:41 - Utilities

A global survey carried out by Accenture, which interviewed 11,154 residential consumers in 21 countries, found that less than one quarter (24%) of consumers trust their utility company(s) to inform them of actions they can take to optimise energy consumption –  a fall of just under a tenth (9%) from 2012.  This currently stands as the lowest level of trust since the program was launched four years ago.

Greg Guthridge, Accenture Energy Consumer Services Managing Director, said:

“In the evolving energy marketplace, many utilities are at an inflection point at which they should redefine their role in consumers’ lives and refocus on building a base of trust.”

Across both regulated and competitive energy markets just under three quarters (73%) of consumers said that if given the choice they would consider alternative providers.  Research shows that delivering basics is the key to increasing confidence, with over nine in ten of consumers saying that three categories are of the upmost importance in building trust: getting the bill correct, reliable energy delivery and clear to understand pricing.

Guthridge continued:

"The first step is making interactions simple, in particular getting the basics right the first time.  Each touch point with the consumer is critical - whether it involves mobile or digital options for straightforward transactions, or higher-touch interactions to resolve issues."

Despite the fact that many utilities companies have increased spending on consumer-centric programs, such as online self-service, this has yet to translate directly into improved trust or satisfaction.

Survey findings indicate that utility companies have several opportunities to better engage with their customers including extending the mobile experience, tackling consumer costs, acting as an energy advisor and delivering a smarter experience.

 

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