Poll Results and Formal Policies
The last Utility Information Pipeline addressed deceased customers and included a poll asking if reader’s utilities have a policy regarding deceased customers. Here are the results of that poll (clicking on the chart will open a larger graphic in a new window):
I’m surprised to see only one utility has a formal policy regarding deceased customers.
This is the second informal poll I’ve conducted recently with the response of a formal policy being a distinct minority. The other was a poll regarding a policy for accepting loose coins.
Limited sample size
The deceased customers poll had 16 responses and the loose coins poll had 22. Statistically speaking, neither of these are very large samples, but, across my readership, I would like to think they are a representative sample of small and mid-sized utilities.
The current subscriber count for the Utility Information Pipeline stands at 322 and, in a good week, about 40% percent of subscribers open any particular issue. So that means, for any given issue, I can expect my newsletter to reach about 125 subscribers. Add to that a few views of my blog from followers on social media and the number of readers responding to either poll is still significantly below 20% of those it reaches.
Importance of a formal policy
I’ve written previously about the importance of having a formal customer service policy. With so few responses to the two polls indicating these topics are addressed in a formal policy, this leads to one of two conclusions: (a) these utilities don’t have formal policies or (b) these topics aren’t covered in their existing formal policies.
If your utility has never been confronted with a customer dumping a huge pile of change on the counter to pay a bill, I can understand if accepting loose coins isn’t dealt with in your policy. However, with the requirement for each utility to have a Red Flags Rule policy, not having a policy regarding deceased customers is more surprising.