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Rural Missouri Magazine

You rank your co-op high

by Barry Hart

by Barry Hart

How are we doing? Employees and directors at Missouri’s electric cooperatives always try to answer that question. It helps direct the cooperative’s efforts to provide you with the best possible service at the lowest possible cost.

To take the pulse of the membership Missouri’s electric cooperatives commission frequent surveys. What we learn from these surveys is often startling.

For example, in 2004 Missouri’s Touchstone Energy cooperatives took part in a survey that is done every three years. Touchstone Energy is a national alliance of local, consumer-owned electric cooperatives. Its goal is to raise the standard of service for cooperative members.

Outgoing Touchstone Energy President Roger Clark, manager of Boone Electric Cooperative in Columbia tells me the Missouri electric cooperatives taking part in the survey are doing a much better job meeting consumers’ needs than the electric utility industry as a whole. The survey compared co-op members’ answers to satisfaction levels for businesses across the country using the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

According to the ACSI scores, electric cooperatives rate much higher than their for-profit utility counterparts. More importantly, Missouri electric cooperatives score higher than their non-co-op counterparts. Even better, Missouri’s electric cooperatives as a group ranked higher than just about any other business.

In fact, Lewis County Rural Electric Cooperative, based in the northeast corner of Missouri, had the highest ranking with an ACSI score of 91. You can look all over the ACSI Web site at www.acsi.org and you won’t find a higher score. The next best score belongs to Amazon.com, the on-line retailer, at 88.

The average for all of the cooperatives that get their electricity from AECI, our generation cooperative, was 86. That compares favorably to the electric utility industry average of 72.

This information is good news to Missouri’s electric cooperatives. It shows you believe we are doing a good job bringing you service.

Through the Touchstone survey we learned other important information:

• Co-op members value the relationship with their electric co-op.• Members like their cooperative because of reliability and the belief they are getting good value for their money.

• Members like their cooperative’s commitment to community. They believe their cooperative acts as their advocate on rural issues.

Thanks to everyone who responds to the surveys we do. While these scientific surveys help us fine-tune our operations, the best indicators often come at the annual meeting or when directors stop by the coffee shop and listen to what you have to say. Your interest and involvement in your co-op ensures it will always succeed in the long run.

Hart is executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.

E-mail Barry Hart

Rural Missouri is published by
The Association of Missouri
Electric Cooperatives

 


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