The Race for the Customer

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Winning in a dynamic marketplace

The power and utility industry, as a general rule, has not been known for excelling in customer relationships and support. Although this perception is sometimes unfair, is not without a kernel of truth. Utilities have two main types of clients: residential and commercial/industrial.

Historically, the customer relationship paradigm for residential customers has been that of a rate payer who is approached on a “least cost to serve” basis. For commercial and industrial customers, utilities have historically provided a greater level of service, but have not provided the level of control and choice expected.

Increasingly, choice and control are becoming residential customer expectations as well. Furthermore, this history has led to a brand perception that reflects a more transactional, and less personal, relationship.

Over the years, some utilities have made significant strides in trying to meet customer expectations. They’ve done this through traditional utility interactions. However, they’ve often focused on the specific metrics driving high-level customer satisfaction scores as we measure them today. But they do not focus on what the evolving industry requires.

About the authors

Andy Steinhubl is a principal with KPMG and the US Energy and Natural Resources Strategy and Transformation Leader.

Jonathan White is a managing director with KPMG in the US. He specializes in the development of business and operating model strategies in the power and utilities industry.

Daniel Resnick is a director with KPMG in Canada. He is a leader in the Canadian Management Consulting Power and Utilities practice. Additionally, he is the Canadian Customer Experience Strategy practice.