Southern Company No 1 in Overall Customer Satisfaction in Annual TQS Benchmark of Large Key Accounts

For the second year in a row, Southern Company leads the nation with the highest level of satisfaction with 95 percent of their largest accounts ranking them an 8, 9, or 10 on a 10 point scale.
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Feb. 18, 2013 - PRLog -- TQS Research just released the results of its 17th annual benchmark study measuring overall satisfaction with electric utilities’ customer service to their largest energy users.
Overall satisfaction among their key or strategic accounts shows continuous improvement over the past five years, and an analysis of the data shows this is due to the best utilities in the nation getting better every year.

For the second year in a row, Southern Company leads the nation with the highest level of satisfaction with 95 percent of their largest accounts ranking them an 8, 9, or 10 on a 10 point scale.

TQS Research

2012 Overall Customer Satisfaction

Electric Utility's Key Accounts

Parent Utility

Percent Very Satisfied

Southern Company


Portland General Electric


MidAmerican Energy HC


Duke Energy








Westar Energy


We Energies


Xcel Energy


In order for a holding company to have a score in the top 10, all of their operating companies must contribute, which means sharing best practices among the operating companies is imperative.  As shown in the following table, all of Southern Company’s operating companies are in the top10.

TQS Research

2012 Overall Customer Satisfaction

Electric Utility's Key Accounts

Operating Companies

Percent Very Satisfied

Mississippi Power - Southern Co


Alabama Power - Southern Co


Rocky Mountain Power ~ MidAmerican HC


MidAmerican Energy OpCo


Portland General Electric


Georgia Power - Southern Co


Entergy Mississippi


Southwestern Public Service Co  - Xcel Energy


Gulf Power - Southern Co


Duke Energy Carolinas


The study is based on interviews with executives of more than 6,500 U.S. businesses that have an electric demand greater than I MW in the manufacturing, hospital and large four year university segments.  Most of these companies spend in excess of $1 million annually and have an account manager assigned to their account.  

TQS’s benchmarking concept compares, or benchmarks, the customers’ perception of the utilities’ performance against those of 52 electric utility holding companies, a national average and four regional averages.  Overall measurements include customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and market perceived value.  Major factors customers respond to in the survey include price, reliability, energy efficiency programs, power quality, account representative performance, handling inquiries and corporate citizenship.

However, TQS goes beyond just providing a ranking.  Areas for improvement can be easily identified by determining which attributes are ranked the lowest; which have declined in the past year; and the reasons the customers ranked the utility below a seven on overall customer satisfaction.  Ninety-five percent of customers surveyed give TQS permission to share their individual responses with their account manager.  This allows the manager to address the individual needs of the customer and create customized call plans.  This concept is referred to by TQS as a “Segment of One” and it is one of our top 10 best practices among the utilities with the best or most improved scores.

We Energies has been named the most improved utility in the past five years.  The following table shows tremendous improvement among some of the utilities in the top 10.

Holding companies with greatest five year improvement

Holding Company


WE Energies


Portland General Electric




Southern Company


Xcel Energy Inc


TQS also conducts a best practices study which identifies the best practices among the utilities in the top 10 and among the utilities with the greatest improvement.  Most of the utilities in the top 10 follow our business model of identifying the opportunities acknowledged in the benchmark and then applying the strategic and tactical practices used by utilities in the top 10.  

According to Joe Ellis, president of TQS, the utilities in the top 10 reached this high level of customer satisfaction by setting high performance goals, studying the best practices of other utilities, improving the communications with key accounts, increasing the number of customer contacts, creating custom call plans for individual customers, assisting customers in reducing their energy costs, providing multiple rate options, and reducing the number of outages. Even though these utilities have some of the best account management programs in the nation, these goals were accomplished through collaboration of all employees and excellent support from their upper management.

About TQS Research

TQS Research is headquartered in Atlanta, GA and has been providing the electric utilities with business to business customer research since 1994.  The two main products of TQS are its annual Benchmark of Key Accounts and its Best Practices of the Top 10 Utilities.  Some of their other research includes, customized benchmark for smaller business accounts, best practices from corporate energy manager accounts, benchmark of regulatory departments, financial analysis benchmark, and products and services for generation departments. For additional information contact Joe Ellis at or Kelly Jackson at or by calling 1-800-643-1990.
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Tags:Benchmark, Electric Utility, Research, Customer Satisfaction, Reports
Industry:Energy, Research
Location:Alpharetta - Georgia - United States
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