2018 Best Practices Award-winning stories rely on technology, strategic collaboration

By Allison Herdic, Industry Researcher –

As Chartwell researchers labor each summer to complete the Best Practices Awards judging process, their greatest challenge often stems from narrowing down a wealth of comprehensive and impressive entries to three winners for each category. Once again, the 2018 entry pool was dynamic, as utilities across North America submitted forward-thinking programs focused on billing and payment, communications, contact center, program marketing and self-service programs and initiatives.

As these entries are packed with learnings, results and key insights from each winning utility, Chartwell has produced a compilation of case studies to provide members with a more detailed exploration of each project. For easy perusal, we’ve divided the case studies into five smaller collections, corresponding to the award categories:

Across this year’s entries, some common themes emerged. The use of technology was prevalent, as utilities have explored and analyzed how to best leverage automated tools and solutions to improve the customer experience and/or enhance operational efficiencies.

In particular, robotics process automation (RPA) made its way into the 2018 award scene. Southern California Edison took home the Gold Award for Billing and Payment after creating a digital workforce to effectively supplement human resource functions across the utility’s Billing, Credit, Collections and Payments departments. Similarly, Hydro One received Chartwell’s Gold Contact Center Award due to its successful incorporation of RPA into the utility’s Customer Care Operations division. As a result, Hydro One has streamlined processes, improved call handling and bolstered customer interactions.

Cross-departmental partnerships were a recurring trend among this year’s winners and finalists. Many utilities cited teamwork ask key to bringing their customer-facing plans to life. KCP&L received Chartwell’s Gold Best Practices Award for Program Marketing based on the utility’s efficacious campaign designed to convert inactive participants in its Thermostat Demand Response program. The utility engaged more than 90% of participants 14 months ahead of the project’s stated goal.

However, KCP&L’s achievements were not accomplished in a silo. The project required collaboration among the utility’s Products, Product Marketing, Digital Communications, Data and Contact Center teams, as well as support from third-party service and technology providers. “Everyone was committed to solving for this problem, very creatively,” said Elena Johnston, Energy Solutions Product Manager.

The aforementioned examples are just a glimpse into Chartwell’s selection of award-winning efforts. To download these stories, members of Chartwell can visit the Insight Center. If you are interested in learning about Chartwell membership, please contact Tim Herrick, Chartwell’s Director of Sales and Member Services.

And, if your utility is interested in submitting an entry for Chartwell’s 2019 Best Practices Awards, it’s never too early to inquire! Please email awards@chartwellinc.com for more details.

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