The folks over at CMS Energy, Reliant Energy and Williams EnergyTrading apparently are the best around at smiling and saying “thankyou.” They came out on top of a new customer satisfaction rankingby Mastio & Co. that evaluates the largest gas marketingcompanies based on the results of 1,200 interviews with industrialcompanies, LDCs, power producers and other marketers.

Coral Energy (18), Sempra Energy (19) and Koch Energy Trading(20) were the basement dwellers in Mastio’s fourth ranking of thetop 20 largest gas marketers.

Each respondent in Mastio’s survey rated gas marketers on 39customer satisfaction attributes: reliability of supply, pricecompetitiveness, ease of ongoing business, quality and maturity ofsales and service representatives, low marketing and sales forceturnover, responsiveness to voice mail systems, quality ofrelationships, accurate billing, plus overall preference,day-to-day service and performance.

Among the mid-tier marketers, Woodward Marketing (1), U.S.Energy Services (2) and ProLiance Energy (3) came out on top, whileOxy USA (18), Burlington Resources (19) and Unocal Global Trade(20) brought up the rear.

“Many marketers focus on the niche customers while ignoringtheir corer customers. If your feel you are being ignored, you areprobably right,” said Bart Thedinger, vice president and seniorpartner at Mastio & Co. “Those marketers who walk the talkconstantly cultivate a culture of customer satisfaction withintheir company. They care and you know it. They realize highercustomer retention rates, win more new customers and increaseprofits. Those who don’t will lose the opportunity and ultimatelytheir customers.”

Mastio’s complete study ranks a total of 68 gas marketers andthree LDCs who compete with one another in the U.S. and Canada.Among the top 20 largest marketers, Reliant had the highesttwo-year average, while Koch Energy Trading had the lowest two-yearaverage. Also among the top 20, Enron North America and Texaco GasMarketing showed the greatest improvement, while Sempra EnergyTrading and Koch showed the most significant decline.

Today’s customer has many choices with the large number ofavailable marketers and the numerous services they offer. Marketershave to make every customer contact count. The top three customerneeds, according to Mastio & Co. are 1) ease of ongoingbusiness, 2) quality of relationships with marketer and 3) salesrepresentatives who listen well.

Rocco Canonica

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