In most places the government regulates power company operations. What that means is that you don’t have a choice who you buy electricity from, you have to buy it from the company that has facilities in your area. They are referred to as “regulated monopolies”.
This means that no matter how upset you get with the power company, you have to either buy electricity from them or not have any… Let’s face it, there are usually only two instances where you even think about the power company, when you get your bill each month and when the lights go out. Neither one is what you would call a positive experience.
In 2003 our there was one such company whose customer satisfaction scores were not horrible but they certainly were not great. Then disaster when they got slammed with two of the worst hurricane seasons on record. They had back-to-back-to-back hurricanes that left the majority of their customers with out power for weeks.
Then, because they had exhausted their $1 Billion Dollar Storm Re-Building fund (power companies can’t get insurance on their power lines) they had to go to their customers and tell them that we would have to charge them 10-15% more each month to replenish the fund.
To add insult to injury, the cost of fuel went through the roof during this same time frame and they had to increase their bills another 30% within a few short months.
Needless to say they had to deliver bad news to these customers over and over again during an 18-month stretch from August of 2004 to February of 2006. They were dreading the day that the customer satisfaction ratings would come out for the company.
When they received their customer satisfaction scores they were blown away, the scores had improved to an all time high!
It turns out that because they were communicating so regularly with their customers, that even though they were calling/emailing/faxing to give their customers bad news, the customer’s perception of the quality of service actually went up!
As a result they developed a 12-point communication plan so that now they are touching base with each major account at least once a month. In the next year they actually won an award for being best in class for customer satisfaction. So much for “no news is good news”!
What does this have to do with your company? Everything!
If customers who don’t have a choice who they buy a service from get a sense of high customer support from increased communications… How much more impactful do think it can be for your business! From my experiences it is substantial!
Just imagine how happy your customers will be when they receive a message from you that you are having a sale, offering a new service, a VIP program, prize give-a-ways, or just sharing a helpful tip on how to get more value out of your product of service. If it works for a big old stogy power company it will work for you!
Dr. Marjukka Miinala, DBA
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