Utility Brand Trust Up Among Businesses, But Women-Owned Businesses Not So Quick to Trust

2016 Most Trusted Utility Business Partners Revealed

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Cogent Reports names 14 electric utilities Most Trusted Business
Partners as the industry posts its highest Brand Trust level ever among
business customers—749 on a 1,000-point index. But these trust levels
vary greatly by business customer segment. Of note, minority-owned
businesses trust their utilities more (809) than do women-owned
businesses (740), which score below the industry average. These results
are contained in this year’s Utility
Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™: Commercial
study by Cogent
, the syndicated division of Market Strategies International.

“Overall, electric utilities are doing a fantastic job establishing
trust among their business customers, which is a prerequisite to
engaging these businesses in offerings and programs,” said Chris Oberle,
senior vice president at Market Strategies. “However, trust is tied to
customer expectations, and not all business customers have the same
expectations or trust levels for their utility.”

Brand Trust scores vary greatly among the many business customer types
measured by the study. For example, technology companies score an
average of 791 compared with only 740 for healthcare companies; while
businesses in urban settings score 775 vs. 728 for suburban businesses
and 704 for rural businesses. Additionally, utilities that assign an
account manager to any type of business score an average of 762, while
headquarters score 756 and satellite offices score 747; small businesses
(100 or fewer employees) score 720, while their larger counterparts
score 774.

“Understanding business customer segments is the first step to building
trusted partnerships where businesses rely on the utility for advice and
enhanced products and services,” continued Oberle. “About 84% of
businesses with above-average trust use enhanced utility offerings or
options, while only 33% of those with below-average trust take advantage
of these services.”

The study measures Brand Trust through businesses’ ratings of their
utility on six factors: Reliable Quality, Customer Focus, Communications
Effectiveness, Community Support, Company Reputation and Advocacy. Of
these factors, Community Support scores the lowest. There is a 200-point
variance between the highest-scoring utility on Community Support and
the lowest-scoring. So, active participation in local business
organizations and economic development activities is also a key area for
improvement among utilities.

Below is a list of the 14 utilities Cogent Reports has named the 2016
Most Trusted Business Partners
. These utilities posted Brand Trust
scores in the top quartile of the industry, and they exhibit best
practices on establishing trusted relationships with business customers.

Most Trusted Business Partners       Brand Trust Index
Alabama Power 774
Ameren Illinois 793
Dominion Virginia Power 791
DTE Energy 783
Florida Power & Light 792
Georgia Power 792
Idaho Power 797
MidAmerican Energy 774
National Grid 789
OG&E 789
Pacific Power 792
Salt River Project 789

Other utilities included in the study are listed below in alphabetical

AEP Ohio
Alliant Energy
Ameren Missouri
Appalachian Power
Consumers Energy
CPS Energy
Duke Energy Carolinas
Duke Energy Florida
Duke Energy Midwest
Duke Energy Progress
Eversource Energy
Gulf Power
Jersey Central Power & Light
Los Angeles Department of Water & Power
NorthWestern Energy
NV Energy
Ohio Edison
PECO Energy
Portland General Electric
PPL Electric Utilities
PSEG Long Island
Puget Sound Energy
Rocky Mountain Power
Southern California Edison
TECO Tampa Electric
We Energies
West Penn Power
Wisconsin Public Service
Xcel Energy—Midwest
Xcel Energy—South
Xcel Energy—West

About Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement Study: Commercial

Cogent Reports conducted surveys among 9,540 commercial electric service
utility customers of the 59 largest US-based utility companies (based on
commercial customer counts). Businesses were eligible for the study if
their bills were $100 or above. Utilities within the same region are
given equal weight in order to balance the influence of each utility’s
customers on survey results. Market Strategies will supply the exact
wording of any survey questions upon request.

About Market Strategies International

Strategies International
is a market research consultancy with deep
expertise in consumer/retail, energy, financial services, healthcare,
technology and telecommunications. The firm is ISO 20252 certified,
reflecting its commitment to providing intelligent research, designed to
the highest levels of accuracy, with meaningful results that help
companies make confident business decisions.

Market Strategies conducts qualitative and quantitative research in 75
countries, and its specialties include brand, communications, CX,
product development, segmentation and syndicated. Its syndicated
products, known as Cogent Reports, help clients understand the market
environment, explore industry trends and monitor their brand and
products within the competitive landscape. Founded in 1989, Market
Strategies is one of the largest market research firms in the world,
with offices in the US, Canada and China. Read Market Strategies’ blog
at FreshMR,
and follow us on Facebook,
and LinkedIn.


Market Strategies International
Anne Denz, 617.715.7611