The Secret to Better JD Power Scores

Tessa Newell

For many utilities, customer satisfaction rankings like JD Power scores are a critical measure of success. As the trusted symbol of the Voice of the Customer, JD Power helps utilities increase consumer consideration and ensure that the highest-performing providers are externally seen as providers of choice.  

These scores and rankings can also provide: 

  • Objective comparisons to similar utilities. 
  • Proof to industry regulators that utility customers are happy. 
  • Clarity for executives and employees that their strategies and efforts are on the right path (and in many cases, bonuses will be paid). 

With so much riding on a utility’s JD Power scores, what’s the secret to getting a better ranking? Let’s explore how utilities can improve and maintain their JD Power rankings.

High-level steps to improve your JD Power scores 

From a 10,000-foot view, there are some broad steps every utility should consider for improved JD Power scores.

  1. Know Your JD Power drivers. Understand the key drivers of your current JD Power scores and get a better understanding of what’s impacting customer satisfaction most today.  
  1. Evaluate those critical areas. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and walk through the critical touchpoints that are impacting customer satisfaction: where can the experience improve? You may want to survey customers to see how they feel about your major drivers and how your organization can improve.
  1. Make communication improvements. Whether it’s the negative effects of service outages or of a difficult bill payment experience, an easy way to soften customer frustration is the right communications strategy. Tools like outbound communications can be leveraged to send targeted, personalized messages to customers on a range of topics, empowering providers with options to address any issue.

To elaborate on the beginning steps of this high-level plan, InvoiceCloud went ahead and asked utility customers nationwide which customer touchpoints were most likely to impact their satisfaction — and where they are already feeling dissatisfied. With these insights, providers have a clearer path toward improved JD Power scores and reaping the benefits that come with them.

Data-backed insights for better JD Power scores 

In a 2021 study, McKinsey & Company determined the answer to that critical question: what’s the most important touchpoint in a utility customer’s journey? After surveying a sample size of utility customers on their preferences and the performance of their utility provider, the answer was resoundingly, “receive and pay my bill.”   

This finding makes perfect sense. Billing and payment is a universal touchpoint, applicable to all utility customers. Even for utility providers themselves, this touchpoint determines revenue collection, service shutoffs, and much more. Data fielded by InvoiceCloud corroborates this data point: “Receive and pay my bill” was also ranked the #1 most important touchpoint among our respondents. However, when we dug deeper into this critical touchpoint, there was an alarming disconnect. 

After surveying over 1,700 utility customers on any dissatisfaction they have with their utility services, we found nearly half of respondents were unhappy with some aspect of their provider’s CX. To clarify which particular experiences were causing the dissatisfaction, we next asked the unhappy 43% which touchpoints were causing their frustration. Unfortunately, that same critical touchpoint, “Receive and pay my bill,” was ranked the least satisfactory touchpoint by these respondents. 

The data makes one thing clear: billing and payments hold more weight with customer satisfaction than any other point along the customer journey – for good, or for bad. For enterprise utilities, this means the billing and payment experience is a major factor in remaining a provider of choice.  

Interested in more insights on utility customer payment preferences and frustrations? Get your free copy of our new research report, The Utility CSAT Report: Improving Satisfaction Where It Matters Most, for insights from utility customers like yours. 

JD Power scores
Tessa Newell

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