Knowing that customer experience is paramount to retaining customers, Reliant, a Fortune 500 Energy Company, partnered with iModerate to understand their shifting Net Promoter Score℠ and increase brand loyalty.

The Problem

Reliant serves over 1.5 million residential and business customers in Texas, where electricity is deregulated and competition is fierce among providers. Realizing the importance of customer experience to the company’s success, Reliant implemented Net Promoter Score. The metric didn’t lend a clear picture of their consumers’ experiences, as it fluctuated without explanation. The team dug into the verbatims in which customers explained their ratings, but couldn’t gain clarity— they uncovered anecdotal insights but nothing actionable. In order to take steps to improve the customer experience, Reliant needed a more robust method to analyze and understand their NPS®.

The Solution

On a monthly basis, iModerate took the NPS verbatims from four surveys at various points in the customer journey and, through our (iM)merge solution, condensed Reliant’s customer commentary down into key themes for Reliant’s two groups of interest – their Promoters and Detractors.

The Results

Reliant gained a clear picture of what constitutes a good or bad customer experience. They were able to:

  • Understand the root cause of problems, allowing them to align their cross-departmental team to a common goal and resolve issues more quickly. For example, while they originally thought complaints about cost stemmed from wanting a lower bill, iModerate found that customers were complaining due to costs being higher than expected. Pleasing customers is a matter of setting clear expectations, not necessarily lowering the price.
  • Recognize what issues were systemic, and which were limited to a small group of customers, allowing them to focus their energies on the most high-leverage issues. Previously, the Reliant team had noticed some rumblings about their delivery fee (a standard, industry-wide fee) on social media. With (iM)merge, they were able to realize how widespread the issue was, leading them to focus on improving consumer education regarding the fee.
  • Take note of emerging trends as they bubble up. These are good things for Reliant to keep on the radar, giving them the ability to nip a negative issue in the bud if it shows signs of growth. iModerate detected an issue bubbling up in the Promoter audience that is common among Detractors, allowing Reliant to take action before the problem spread.
  • Uncover organizational breakdowns. At times, similar themes emerge in the Promoter and Detractor audiences. iModerate found that experiences vary depending on how sales set expectations – what was originally perceived to be a call center issue was actually rooted in sales setting incorrect expectations.

With the learnings from (iM)merge, Reliant has already implemented organizational changes and seen clear ROI. Prior to (iM)merge, two out of Reliant’s four call centers had a disproportionate amount of Detractors. After unearthing clear action items to improve customer experiences, Reliant targeted training at those two sites, arming representatives with the materials that they needed to answer consumers’ questions, set and manage expectations, and align with the sales and product development teams. They’ve stemmed detraction at both of the previously struggling call centers, cut call times, and have had less repeat calls.


Net Promoter, NPS, and the NPS-related emoticons are registered service marks, and Net Promoter Score and Net Promoter System are service marks, of Bain & Company, Inc., Satmetrix Systems, Inc. and Fred Reichheld.

Our relationship with iModerate has enabled us to quickly and efficiently seek the voice of the consumer or customer, and incorporate it into our business decisions, allowing us to become smarter and faster to market. The team iModerate is, in essence, a virtual extension of the Abbott research team – from them, I know that when I pick up the phone and call, on the other end will be someone who understands my business, knows my target consumer, and will always deliver high quality results.

Kristen McLane, Manager, Shopper Insights & Category Development, Abbott Nutrition