COSTA MESA, Calif.: 10 Mar. 2017 — As utility companies increasingly offer mobile apps, customers are finding that the digital experience with those apps is more satisfying on a smartphone than with other mobile options such as responsive design or dedicated mobile sites, according to the J.D. Power 2017 Utility Website Evaluation Study,SM released today.
The study, now in its sixth year, is based on a combined ranking of evaluations collected across mobile websites/apps and desktops/laptops/tablets for electric, gas and/or water utilities across the country. The study explores how easy it is to use a utility’s website by examining 16 tasks based on the type of utility, including making a payment; viewing consumption history; reviewing account information; researching energy saving information; updating service; logging into your account; viewing and reporting outages; and locating water quality reports.
The study finds that among the three types of mobile channels utilities offer, satisfaction is highest for mobile apps, which score 415 points on a 500-point scale. By comparison, responsive websites—those where the web content adjusts to various screen sizes—score 409 points, and dedicated mobile websites score 403 points. Overall satisfaction with the mobile experience continues to lag the desktop experience, which averages 422.
“While use of mobile apps from utility companies is still relatively low, usage is clearly on the rise, reflecting the increasingly mobile nature in which customers interact with their utility,” said Andrew Heath, senior director of the utility and infrastructure practice at J.D. Power. “Expectations are set by industries like financial services that have made mobile account access essential tools for customers. It’s important for utilities to understand how customers want to communicate with them and, in turn, customize their apps and websites to meet those needs.”
Other Key Findings
- SRP ranks highest in utility website satisfaction, with a score of 439. SRP performs particularly well in viewing consumption history, updating service and locating contact information. Following SRP in the ranking are Westar Energy (438), NV Energy (437) and AEP (436).
- Water utilities lag in satisfaction with their websites compared with gas and electric utilities, particularly in the areas of being able to update service, account login, make a payment, and reviewing account information.
The 2017 Utility Website Evaluation Study (UWES) is based on evaluations from more than 16,500 residential electric, gas and/or water customers, with 6,168 of these customers providing feedback about their online experience using a mobile device. The 73 largest U.S. electric, gas and/or water companies are included in the study, which was fielded from December 2016 through January 2017.
The study provides utility companies with an objective assessment of the usability of their website; establishes performance benchmarks; provides improvement recommendations; and identifies best practices across the industry. Ease of use is calculated on a 500-point scale.
See the online press release at https://www.jdpower.com/pr-id/2017026.
J.D. Power is a global leader in consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics. Those capabilities enable J.D. Power to help its clients drive customer satisfaction, growth and profitability. Established in 1968, J.D. Power is headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., and has offices serving North/South America, Asia Pacific and Europe.
Media Relations Contact
Geno Effler; Costa Mesa, Calif.; 714-621-6224; [email protected]
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