United Members Grant High
Marks to Co-Op’s Fourth Quarter
After participating in telephone and online questionnaires posed by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI®), United Cooperative Services members gave United a score of 91 for the final quarter of 2019.
The score not only marked the fourth quarter in a row with a score of 90 or more, but also kept the cooperative's average for the past four quarters well above scores earned this year by other electric cooperatives across the nation grouped by similar size and collectively by Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, the national brand alliance for electric cooperatives.
United CEO Cameron Smallwood said the number again stood as testament to all employees’ efforts to ensure they deliver exceptional service and value to the membership every day.
“A score of 91 is an incredible achievement on its own,” Smallwood said. “To have scored so high for four straight quarters tells me and the members that our organization continues to put our members first each and every day with everything that we do. We realize that there is always room for improvement in what we do, and we continue to find ways to make those improvements. However, the feedback we’ve received from this survey shows our employees are truly engaged in living the mission statement. Compared to other co-ops and for-profit utilities, we’re still at the top of our field.
“It is and should always be our hope that we never lose the trust factor that our members have in their electric cooperative. We understand how valuable that is to the future of continuing to meet our members’ needs.”
United members who agree to give up a brief amount of personal time in their busy schedules to participate in regular quarterly member satisfaction surveys continue to play an important role in improvements the cooperative continually seeks to make in its service delivery to them, he said.
The ACSI® analyzes customer satisfaction for 10 economic sectors and 46 key industries that together represent a broad swath of the national economy. The index’s scientific model provides key insights into the entire customer experience as well as indications of micro and macroeconomic performance and measures customer satisfaction and retention using four standardized questions.
The four questions focus on the following attributes: overall satisfaction, confirmation of expectations, comparison to an ideal utility company and intention to choose said utility again. Through TSE Services data collection and the ACSI’s satisfaction metrics, United Cooperative Services receives a proven, independent third-party assessment of member feedback.
According to an ACSI assessment released in March 2019 (the most recent as of press time), nearly every investor-owned energy utility had registered weaker customer satisfaction levels. Overall, consumer satisfaction across the electric industry declined 2.7 percent—to an ACSI score of 73—as reported in the organization’s Energy Utility Reports 2018-2019. However, electric utilities providing service under the cooperative philosophy or model continue to have the highest customer satisfaction despite sliding 2.6 percent to 75.
Online surveys have been part of the survey process since 2018, and United’s most recent ACSI scoring featured a higher percentage of online surveys than ever before. These online surveys are becoming more popular as fewer people answer telephones due to fears and frustrations related to telemarketers and spam calls. TSE Services processes these satisfaction surveys for cooperatives all across the nation and they are reporting seeing overall participation growing through the online survey, which is delivered through an email invitation. The member clicks on a link to the survey in the email and can take the survey at a time convenient to their schedule. The online survey also provides members the ability to complete the questionnaire on any device.
“As we adapt to this ever-changing technological landscape, I hope members continue to take the time out to check their emails and participate in this important survey,” Smallwood said. “What we learn from the feedback is invaluable in ensuring we continue to meet and exceed our members’ expectations.”
Every quarterly survey United receives is pored over to pinpoint areas within the cooperative’s control that can be improved. Member feedback allows the co-op to make timely shifts and adjustments in the portfolio of services it offers within its growing service territory.