Offering multilingual communications and outreach is essential to great customer service

By Ruchi Solanki, Research Analyst –

The United States Census Bureau reported in 2013 that about 21% of people age five or older speak a language other than English at home in the United States. The importance of reaching customers through their preferred language is an essential part of great customer service.

Chartwell has explored, in the past, the different ways utilities offer multilingual customer experiences, from San Diego Gas and Electric’s personalized multilingual communication campaigns to Salt River Project’s Spanish-language website.

CPS Energy strengthened its safety and customer education efforts to make a greater impact on its audience including students, contractors and first responders. The utility marketed its content via bill inserts, website and targeted presentations. One effort included partnering with the Hispanic Contractors Association of San Antonio and Univision to launch “Jueves de Loncheras” to target construction workers during lunch breaks and promote safety with on-site bilingual presentations. The total number of participants in 2016 was 1,393, with 2017 and 2018 events drawing large numbers as well.

Pacific Gas and Electric, in order to actively engage Chinese customers, expanded its communications efforts with a dedicated service line and a Chinese-language website and bill. The utility gathered feedback from focus groups and surveys to guide marketing and communications on several efforts. PG&E was the first utility in California to provide a Chinese-language energy statement in 2013.

Southern California Gas Company has connected and served as an advocate to its diverse customer base through its comprehensive customer strategy outreach. To learn more about SoCalGas’s efforts and the challenges and opportunities this provides, make sure to register for Chartwell’s webinar on Wednesday, Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Join Sal Jimenez, SoCalGas’s Billing Supervisor, in discussing the utility’s approach to help broaden the company’s efforts to provide support in other languages, ensure customers understand essential information and develop trust in the brand through multilingual customer service.

Remember, with a Chartwell Premier membership you have access to research, a network of industry peers, topical webinars and analyst support. If you are interested in learning more about how to optimize your utility’s customer experience strategies and problem solve with other leading utilities, join Chartwell’s Customer Experience Leadership Council by emailing Tim Herrick at

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