Omaha Public Power District is among the highest-scoring utilities nationwide in a new study related to brand trust.
The results come from the 2021 Cogent Syndicated Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement™ Residential study conducted by Escalent, a top human behavior and analytics advisory firm. It ranked utilities based on its Brand Trust Index, a composite score of performance in the areas of customer focus, community support, communications effectiveness, reliable quality, environmental dedication and company reputation.
The study noted that customer focus experienced the most gains this year across the board, followed by company reputation and community support.
“We are pleased,” said Juli Comstock, OPPD vice president-Customer Service. “It means our customers have had faith in us over the course of a very difficult year.”
Comstock noted OPPD has been there for its customers to help them through challenges posed by the pandemic, among other historic events this past year. “We faced sudden weather-related outage events, such as the rare derecho that struck last August. We worked through the need for short-duration energy curtailments during the polar vortex in February for the first time ever, in order to maintain the stability of the grid,” she said.
“Throughout it all, our employees have upheld our core values of having a passion to serve, honoring our community and caring about each other.”
OPPD is among 38 utilities to be named “Most Trusted Brands."
“Starting active conversations with customers on how their utility can partner with and support them throughout the challenges faced this past year has strongly positioned utilities as trusted energy advisers and great corporate citizens,” said Chris Oberle, senior vice president at Escalent.
“Our research shows that nearly all utilities provide great service levels, but an elite group has been able to build trusted brands that empower customers with valuable offerings and value-added information. The most trusted utility brands include utilities that are making a positive impact on their customers, communities and financials.”
Among the study’s other key findings:
- Customers with high brand trust use an average of nine enhanced utility offerings compared with only four for customers with low trust levels.
- Two in three (62%) of those with high brand trust use utility digital options.
- High brand trust increases customer acceptance of utility rate changes by 23%.
- Customer trust is built over time, as new customers give lower Brand Trust scores than those who’ve been customers longer.
- The utility industry should focus on low-income customers ($25K or less annual household income), as they post lower Brand Trust scores than customers with higher income levels.
- High brand trust minimizes the negative-perception impacts from outage, safety and other critical events, while increasing customer advocacy and loyalty.
Visit OPPDTheWire.com to see some of the behind-the-scenes work taking place throughout OPPD and our communities to earn and maintain our customers’ trust, and in our mission of providing affordable, reliable, environmentally sensitive energy services.