Reliant serves over 1.5 million residential and business customers in Texas, where electricity is deregulated and competition is fierce among providers. Realizing the importance of customer experience to the company’s success, Reliant implemented Net Promoter Score. The metric didn’t lend a clear picture of their consumers’ experiences, as it fluctuated without explanation. The team dug into the verbatims in which customers explained their ratings, but couldn’t gain clarity— they uncovered anecdotal insights but nothing actionable. In order to take steps to improve the customer experience, Reliant needed a more robust method to analyze and understand their NPS®.
On a monthly basis, iModerate took the NPS verbatims from four surveys at various points in the customer journey and, through our (iM)merge solution, condensed Reliant’s customer commentary down into key themes for Reliant’s two groups of interest – their Promoters and Detractors.
Reliant gained a clear picture of what constitutes a good or bad customer experience. They were able to:
- Understand the root cause of problems, allowing them to align their cross-departmental team to a common goal and resolve issues more quickly. For example, while they originally thought complaints about cost stemmed from wanting a lower bill, iModerate found that customers were complaining due to costs being higher than expected. Pleasing customers is a matter of setting clear expectations, not necessarily lowering the price.
- Recognize what issues were systemic, and which were limited to a small group of customers, allowing them to focus their energies on the most high-leverage issues. Previously, the Reliant team had noticed some rumblings about their delivery fee (a standard, industry-wide fee) on social media. With (iM)merge, they were able to realize how widespread the issue was, leading them to focus on improving consumer education regarding the fee.
- Take note of emerging trends as they bubble up. These are good things for Reliant to keep on the radar, giving them the ability to nip a negative issue in the bud if it shows signs of growth. iModerate detected an issue bubbling up in the Promoter audience that is common among Detractors, allowing Reliant to take action before the problem spread.
- Uncover organizational breakdowns. At times, similar themes emerge in the Promoter and Detractor audiences. iModerate found that experiences vary depending on how sales set expectations – what was originally perceived to be a call center issue was actually rooted in sales setting incorrect expectations.
With the learnings from (iM)merge, Reliant has already implemented organizational changes and seen clear ROI. Prior to (iM)merge, two out of Reliant’s four call centers had a disproportionate amount of Detractors. After unearthing clear action items to improve customer experiences, Reliant targeted training at those two sites, arming representatives with the materials that they needed to answer consumers’ questions, set and manage expectations, and align with the sales and product development teams. They’ve stemmed detraction at both of the previously struggling call centers, cut call times, and have had less repeat calls.
Net Promoter, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered service marks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld.
Our research work with iModerate over the past several years has developed into a true partnership. Their unique fusion of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies in a single study has offered new insights into key topics and markets of interest for our organization, which in turn, we are able to quickly turn into action steps. They are flexible, responsive, and extremely engaged in the entire project process, from conception and design to final data processing and delivery. They have even gone above and beyond by volunteering their time, resources, and expertise to assist with a special target market project on women. iModerate has their finger on the pulse of the research industry and consistently provides creative suggestions and solutions to enhance our current work. This ultimately allows us to provide our leadership with the strategic insights and opportunities that helps us to advance the common good., Manager, Market Research, United Way Worldwide