Improving customer satisfaction has long been a focus of GreyStone Power Corp.'s communicators. So when consumer scores from a major industry survey were lower than expected, the electric cooperative knew it had to act.

Scores were lower at a time "when GreyStone's lower winter rates were in effect," said Ashley Kinnard, public relations and communications manager at the Douglasville, Georgia co-op. "Clearly there was communication needed to put rates into perspective."

The co-op created the "Making Life Better" campaign in an effort to improve customer satisfaction scores as well as members' perception of the price of electricity.

Using rate data from the Georgia Public Service Commission and the U.S. Census, the co-op's aggressive outreach to members paid off. Not only did the co-op earn higher satisfaction scores, but it changed its mission statement to "Making Life Better in the Communities We Serve."

For its efforts, the co-op received the 2019 Edgar F. Chesnutt Award for Best Total Communication Program during CONNECT '19 in Houston on May 7.

"As electric cooperative communicators, you all make life better for your members every day," said Kinnard in accepting the award. "Keep telling your stories and sharing the cooperative difference."

Scott Peterson, NRECA's senior vice president of communications, said successful campaigns like "Making Life Better" are examples of "programs that meet and exceed high standards and contribute to a growing body of knowledge."

It's the second Chesnutt award for GreyStone Power Corp., which also won it in 2014.

The Chesnutt award is named for Edgar F. Chesnutt, who was manager of corporate communications at Arkansas Electric Cooperative for more than a quarter-century. It is the highest honor bestowed through the Spotlight on Excellence Awards program.