When J.D. Power announced their annual customer satisfaction rankings in July, GreyStone Power emerged #1 among cooperatives. While this marked a celebratory moment, the achievement was no overnight success. The utility has been working for several years with the agency used by utilities across the nation: local public relations and advertising firm, G&T Communications, Inc.
“With their data-driven approach and thoughtful messaging, G&T has been a great resource for us in maintaining a strong communications program,” said GreyStone Public Relations and Communications Manager Ashley Kinnard.
The agency, now in its 24th year, is known for its strategic work with energy cooperatives.
“Cooperatives are energy providers to what were once rural areas,” explained G&T founder and president Maggie Tilley, APR, CCC. “When investor-owned utilities refused to serve those communities, people living in those areas banded together to form their own power companies.”
According to Tilley, there are more than 900 electric cooperatives in the U.S., including Blue Ridge Energy here in North Carolina. “Our mission is to elevate their communication programs, informing and strengthening the relationship between the utility and the people they serve.
Greystone Power, located in metro Atlanta, serves more than 118,000 homes and businesses. To help people understand how GreyStone has been helping its customers, G&T focused on telling the story of all the good things the cooperative has been doing for its consumer-members, including managing rates and supporting the local community.
“Strong communication is essential to achieving great customer satisfaction,” said Tilley. “We’ve also got to tell the story of reliable service, how the utility is helping consumers use energy wisely and the services that make doing business with the utility more convenient,” she added. If people don’t know what their energy provider is doing for them and their community, their satisfaction numbers will show it.”
G&T Communications has a long list of utility communication awards. The agency helped GreyStone take home the coveted Edgar F. Chesnutt 2019 award. The Chesnutt recognizes the “best of the best” in public relations and advertising programs among the nearly 900 electric cooperatives across the nation. This is an unprecedented fifth time G&T Communications has developed and/or contributed to campaigns honored with the Chesnutt award.
“We worked with TSE Services to research how their members were receiving information and how they perceived what the utility was sending them,” said Tilley. “We then strategically created and placed communication that best met those members’ needs,” she explained. “It took years of consistent effort, but their scores finally rose to the top.”
About G&T Communications
G&T Communications, with offices in Asheville and Boone, N.C., has more than 50 state and national awards, including Asheville’s American Advertising Federation’s 2015 Best in Show. For more info, visit GoToPublicRelations.com.
GreyStone Power received the highest score in the Cooperatives segment of the J.D. Power 2019 Electric Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study of customers’ satisfaction nationally among electric residential customers. Visit jdpower.com/awards.