Buckeye Power provides services to 25 individual rural electric cooperatives in Ohio. SMARInsights began working with Buckeye Power in 1999 to provide an annual customer satisfaction measure for each of the 25 cooperatives, as well as a national benchmark study.
The survey process has changed over time, as customers have changed. Given the more rural nature of the customers, telephone surveying is still critical. But over the past several years, analysis revealed that if only telephone surveying was used this missed significant segments of the customer base. As a result, SMARInsights moved to a blended telephone/online methodology to complete the 7,000+ interviews annually.
One of the challenges with this research was to alter the methodology while maintaining the comparability of results. We worked extensively with the client to provide guidance and options throughout the process. Additionally, the scope of the survey and key issues changed as the utility industry has undergone changes.
Most recently, SMARInsights developed a program that allows individual cooperatives to conduct ongoing satisfaction research among their customers with a service contact. We set up individual web-based surveys for each participating cooperative, who in turn sent their customers to the web survey once they had a contact. The cooperative has access to a dashboard that tracks satisfaction. Additionally, they receive alerts regarding any customer who requests contact over a problem or concern. This system provides real-time feedback to the cooperatives and augments the annual study.
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