APS, Puget Sound Energy and PPL Electric Utilities recognized with Chartwell’s 2013 Best Practices Awards

ATLANTA – Oct. 9, 2013 – Arizona Public Service (APS), Puget Sound Energy (PSE) and PPL Electric Utilities have taken the top honors in Chartwell’s 10th annual Best Practices in Customer Service, Marketing and Outage Communications Awards, respectively, as announced today at EMACS – The Customer Experience Conference.

Chartwell analysts recognized Arizona Public Service as the Gold Customer Service Award winner for its Business and Community Relations program, an effort that has yielded significant results, including increasing key account customer satisfaction and advocacy and enhancing familiarity with APS Relationship Managers among key account customers.

Puget Sound Energy was recognized as the Gold Marketing Award winner for its Re-Energized by Design home makeover contest that featured six household’s energy efficiency progress. Online videos and blogs showcased the competition’s progress and generated considerable interest in the utility’s energy efficiency programs and rebate opportunities.

PPL Electric Utilities received the Gold Outage Communications Award for the utility’s communications overhaul that revamped inbound and outbound messaging, call handling capacity and Web and mobile services. As a result, PPL’s customer satisfaction increased considerably over a one-year period.

“We applaud these utilities for their innovative and comprehensive efforts,” said Scott Johnson, Chartwell’s director of research. “Chartwell recognizes these utilities’ commitment to excellence as evidenced by their compelling, customer-centric programs.”

In addition to the Gold Award winners, Chartwell recognized the following Silver Award recipients:

Customer Service: Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) was recognized for its internally developed tool to handle high-bill calls and inquiries. The utility leveraged CSR ‘voice of the customer’ feedback in the development process of the tool that now provides energy usage variables, usage history data and reports. As a result of this initiative, KCP&L has considerably reduced meter re-reads and first contact resolution rates during its notoriously high call volume month of August.

Marketing: Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE) was recognized for its Smart Energy Savers program focused on energy conservation, demand response and smart grid initiatives. BGE’s sector-based marketing approach was designed to appeal to specific businesses and build strong relationships as well as increase program participation rates. Through these efforts, BGE has successfully surpassed its program energy saving and participation goals.

Outage Communications: Abandoning its one-size-fits-all approach to customer satisfaction, Entergy used a ‘deep dive’ approach to garner feedback on areas of customer service improvement, including outage communications. Based upon its learnings, Entergy now offers multiple outage notifications with information ranging from estimated times of restoration to progress updates. Web and mobile enhancements were also incorporated into the utility’s communications process. As a result, customer satisfaction continues to increase, while ‘voice of the customer’ feedback is trending positive.

The following utilities were recognized as Bronze Award recipients:

Customer Service: DTE Energy enhanced its contact center processes through a dedicated improvement initiative known as the Customer Learning Lab that provides intentional support to customer service representatives through a team of dedicated support advisors. DTE Energy can now quickly and more effectively make process and technology enhancements to improve the customer contact experience. By focusing more heavily on transactional excellence, DTE Energy has improved first contact resolution and customer satisfaction.

Marketing: Re-launching its popular peaksaver PLUS® program in June 2012, Toronto Hydro aimed to reduce peak demand, increase program enrollments and demonstrate thought-leadership in conservation efforts. A wide variety of communications channels were used, including community events, traditional and digital marketing and outbound calling. These efforts were rewarded as Toronto Hydro garnered more than 31,000 enrollments in peaksaver PLUS® by the end of 2012, surpassing the utility’s enrollment and energy savings goals.

Outage Communications: Aiming to raise its customer satisfaction bar – all while facing repeated severe weather events – Pepco Holdings Inc. leveraged numerous tactics to maintain transparent, constant and efficient communication with its customers during and after outage events. Dedicated social media improvements across Facebook, Twitter and YouTube were leveraged, while a mobile application and Web-based storm center were employed to better serve customers. As a result, Pepco saw significant customer satisfaction and media favorability gains in 2012, while the utility’s social media and mobile application customer engagement has increased.

Based in Atlanta, Chartwell, Inc. is a specialized information provider for the utility industry. We provide strategic research and facilitate issue-targeted forums for collaboration among industry peers. Our wide range of services ensures that our members have access to the best, most timely information available to make their business decisions. For more information, visit www.chartwellinc.com.

Scott Johnson
(404) 237-9099 ext. 26





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