Customers judge their experience with any company in terms of cost, quality and service. They also measure value by how a company responds when something goes wrong. And their perceptions of AEP can directly impact regulatory and financial outcomes, as well as our reputation.
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 those expectations. One way to measure our performance is through customer satisfaction surveys.
AEP actively engages with residential, commercial and industrial customers using phone and online surveys, including the J.D. Power Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM. The 2015 survey measured satisfaction among 140 electric utility brands in the U.S. Satisfaction is examined across six factors: power quality and reliability; price; billing and payment; corporate citizenship; communications; and customer service. AEP’s results show that overall customer satisfaction is moving in the right direction; AEP’s operating companies in the survey recorded improvements in overall customer satisfaction from the prior year. However, we can do better and that is our commitment.
One thing we do know is that technology and information are fundamental to customer satisfaction. We have action-oriented, measurable customer experience work plans for each of our operating companies to help us prioritize our efforts. We continue to promote outage and billing text alerts and email alerts to keep our customers informed. In 2016, we will engage customers in new ways. For example, we are creating customer research panels to test messaging, get feedback on programs and services, and measure perceptions of our company.