From the Central Valley to Silicon Valley, from Eureka in the north to Bakersfield in the south, PG&E’s customers are as diverse as the natural landscape of the Golden State.
We are proud to serve and reflect such diverse communities, and are increasingly relying on insightful data and our presence at a local level so that we can gain a deeper understanding of our customers’ ever-changing needs and improve their overall experience with PG&E.
Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Customer Care organization, led by the Chief Customer Officer, is responsible for our efforts to deliver the best experience for each and every customer. This includes an increased focus on using data to improve the customer experience, localizing our presence and strategies in the communities we serve, empowering customers with greater choice and control over how they manage their energy use, and continuously integrating customer feedback to improve our products and services.
Serving Customers Locally
To work more effectively at the local level, we maintain cross-functional leadership teams in each region to incorporate local needs and concerns into our operating decisions. These teams are led by local managers and include representatives from across the business.
Saving Customers Energy and Money
We continue to offer a full portfolio of savings options for customers, with an increasing focus on tips to help customers reduce their energy use and save money. We offer some of the nation’s leading programs and incentives for energy efficiency, demand response and solar energy, as well as simple rate options for charging electric vehicles. We also offer the Solar Choice program, which allows customers to buy up to 100 percent solar power.
Making It Easy
A growing number of our residential customers prefer self-service options. As we introduce new technologies to help customers understand, manage and reduce their energy use, we are increasingly reaching out to them through a variety of channels, including mobile phones, web, email and social media.
We provide the vast majority of customers with access to hourly data on their energy use and a comparison of their use to that of similar homes in their neighborhoods. Within our online tool in Your Account, customers can see how and when they use energy, take a home energy audit and find energy-saving tips as well as information on our energy efficiency programs and incentives. PG&E’s Business Energy Checkup enables small and medium business customers to find energy-saving ideas that can lower their operating costs and programs such as energy efficiency financing to address up-front cost barriers.
Our energy statements provide clear and easy-to-understand information, with numerous options for customers to pay their bills. We have also refreshed our online presence to include an improved and simpler navigation and site architecture and our mobile website so customers can get real-time outage information; start, stop or transfer service; or pay their bill on their mobile devices. Customers can also choose their preferred channel for communication—text, email or phone—and after nine months, they can use My Rate Analysis to make sure they’re on the right rate.
In addition to digital offerings, PG&E offers self-service capabilities like reconnecting service via our Interactive Voice Response technology. Many of our communications are available in multiple languages and formats, including English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog and large print.
To increase customer satisfaction, PG&E regularly seeks feedback and insights from customers through various surveys, focus groups and other forms of research that help drive our decision-making and customer service improvements. We also maintain an internal hotline that allows any employee to elevate a customer issue and make sure that PG&E addresses it in a timely fashion.
Home Energy Reports stimulate big customer—and energy—savings
About 1.5 million PG&E residential customers receive easy-to-read Home Energy Reports. They show customers how their energy use stacks up against approximately 100 similar households in their area and provide personalized tips on saving energy. These comparisons encourage customers to manage their energy better. The savings enabled by the reports add up: in 2015, estimated electric savings totaled 145 GWh, enough to power about 9,000 typical homes for a year. Total estimated gas savings came to over 4.2 million therms, enough to serve about 2,500 typical homes for a year.
We remained focused on meeting the unique needs of our customers in 2015, with a number of highlights:
- Engaged local leadership teams. We strengthened our local cross-functional leadership teams throughout our service area, allowing us to deepen local relationships and more quickly identify and resolve local customer concerns.
- Improved the customer experience for digital-first customers. We continued to improve PG&E’s customer service infrastructure and technologies to enable more customers to self-manage their interactions and transactions with PG&E. In short, customers can now do business with PG&E via their Channel of Choice. This initiative was recognized as a best practice and received Chartwell’s Silver Customer Service Award
- Expanded customer data platforms. We maintained a service called Share My Data, which allows the approximately 60,000 enrolled customers to share their energy usage data with select third-party service providers, who can use the information to advise customers if energy products and services, such as private solar, may be right for them.
- Continued strong growth of social media properties. PG&E produces customer-centric content for social media properties on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. In 2015, PG&E’s social media platforms were essential, real-time communication tools during large storms and events, like summer wildfires. Both customers and news media turn to our social channels and our news site at pgecurrents.com for updates from PG&E.
- Improved outreach to diverse groups. By deploying more in-language materials, increasing the number of in-language media opportunities and working with local organizations, we saw strong participation in our programs for low-income customers. For example, our CARE program, a discounted rate plan, achieved 87 percent participation by eligible customers.
Through a continued focus on improving the experience for our digital-first customers and tailoring our engagement and offerings based on local customer needs, we are committed to improving satisfaction for both residential and business customers.
In 2015, our customer satisfaction score decreased from 76.5 to 75.5 and we set a target for 2016 of 75.7. We recognize the need for continual improvement and are more focused than ever on communicating with customers about safety, our rates, and the technologies and tools we have available to support sustainable customer energy solutions. We also benchmark our customer satisfaction results with best-in-class performing utilities using J.D. Power’s Customer Satisfaction Studies. This comparison helps us set our goal each year as we aim for second-quartile performance.
To measure customer satisfaction, we use a random-sample, proprietary customer survey that is conducted quarterly by an independent third party. The customer satisfaction score is determined by averaging customers’ overall satisfaction with our products and services using a 1 to 10 scale, indexed to a score from 1 to 100. This metric also serves as one of the measures we use for determining performance-related employee compensation, since employees from all PG&E lines of business contribute to improving the overall satisfaction of our customers.
As we work to create a better customer experience, we will continue to leverage sophisticated data and analytics, provide more self-service options for customers and make new technologies available to better tailor our services. Through the work of our local cross-functional teams, we will also continue to strengthen PG&E’s local presence and relationships with customers and other stakeholders in our communities.