ComEd, JEA, Pepco, SCE and Tucson Electric Power recognized with Chartwell’s 2019 Best Practices Awards

By Suzanne Haggerty, Industry Consultant

ComEd, JEA, Pepco, Southern California Edison and Tucson Electric Power have taken the top honors in Chartwell’s 16th annual Best Practices Awards.

The awards recognize excellence among electric and gas utilities with respect to projects, programs and service initiatives. The categories include Billing and Payment Programs, Communications, Contact Center, Program Marketing and Self-Service.

Gold Award winners will discuss their initiatives during EMACS – The Customer Experience Conference, Sept. 30-Oct. 3 in New Orleans.

All Best Practice Award winners and finalists will be recognized during an awards luncheon on Oct. 2. The conference features more than 30 sessions focused on customer experience-related issues facing the utility industry, including the changing energy landscape, new and emerging technologies, increasing ePayment and eBill adoption, and improving the customer experience for low-income customers. A special rate is available to attendees who register by Aug. 23, 2019.

Each year, the judges, who are all members of Chartwell’s research team, are charged with the difficult task of selecting the best programs. This year’s selection process was made even tougher by the dozens of quality entries that were submitted across five categories:

Billing and Payment Programs

  • Tucson Electric Power will receive the Gold Billing and Payment Programs Award for its focused bill redesign, which improved customer satisfaction and reduced costs.
  • Hydro Ottawa earned the Silver Billing and Payment Programs Award for its Go Paperless campaign, which dramatically surpassed all previous campaigns in online billing and automated payment plan enrollments.
  • NiSource earned the Bronze Billing and Payment Programs Award for its seven-state online payments overhaul, which resulted in a significant decrease in payment failures and a notable increase in paperless billing enrollments.

Communications

  • JEA earned the Gold Communications Award for its Invasion of the Fatbergs campaign, designed to educate consumers about public safety issues with sewer fatbergs and ultimately change flushing and grease-disposal habits.
  • Xcel Energy will receive the Silver Communications Award for its Renewable Choice campaign, designed to make customers aware of Xcel Energy’s renewable energy options.
  • FortisBC earned the Bronze Communications Award for its crisis communications campaign, launched in 2018 to protect the company’s corporate reputation and encourage energy conservation efforts after a natural gas transmission pipeline ruptured, impacting delivery to customers during heating season.

Contact Center

  • Chartwell analysts named ComEd as the Gold Contact Center Award winner for its two-fold project to improve the escalated call experience with CSR coaching and enhanced processes.
  • Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas will receive the Silver Contact Center Award for its contact center improvement efforts, which increased employee and customer satisfaction and reduced operating costs.
  • Tucson Electric Power will receive the Bronze Contact Center Award for its seasonal workforce strategy, which reduced overtime, average speed of answer and customer complaints while increasing customer satisfaction.

Program Marketing

  • Chartwell analysts chose Pepco and Delmarva as the Gold Program Marketing Award winner for the Energy Savings for Business Program, which provides financial incentives for businesses of all sizes to make energy efficiency upgrades and exceeded its 2018 energy-saving goals.
  • Hydro-Québec will receive the Silver Program Marketing Award for its Water- and Energy-Saving Products Program, which has resulted in significant energy and water savings as well as increased customer satisfaction.
  • Florida Public Utilities will receive the Bronze Program Marketing Award for its Ask4More natural gas campaign, designed to convey the benefits that natural gas offers to homeowners, including savings, upscale appliances and amenities, and reliability during times of severe weather.

Self-Service

  • Southern California Edison earned the Gold Self-Service Award for its social media chatbot, which helps customers resolve issues without assistance from a human agent, enabling SCE to meet an ever-increasing demand for social customer care without increasing resources or sacrificing customer satisfaction.
  • Hydro Ottawa earned the Silver Self-Service Award for its IVR update, which uses voice biometrics for secure authentication, and its smart speaker skill, which allows customers to ask questions about their accounts using their smart speakers.
  • Con Edison earned the Bronze Self-Service Award for its Foreign Language Project, which expanded the utility’s IVR to offer service in seven languages.

For more information on EMACS or Chartwell’s Best Practices Awards, contact Suzanne Haggerty.

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