Retrospective: Chartwell’s Top 5 Blog Posts from 2015

By K.C. Boyce, Director of Custom Research —

It’s that time of year again. With 2015 nearly in the books, it’s time to pause and take a look back to see how this year will stack up in the annals of the early 21st century utility industry. To that end, below are Chartwell’s most popular blog posts of 2015, along with updates and commentary.

What’s Next? Responding to JACO’s Unexpected Closure
What was supposed to be a sleepy Thanksgiving week turned into a mad dash for utilities across the country as the largest refrigerator recycling vendor unexpectedly went into receivership, leaving customers with bouncing checks and broken pick-up dates for old refrigerators. Although JACO has subsequently reopened under new ownership, this episode highlighted the importance of carefully managing vendors – especially as utilities look to improve their customer experience across every touchpoint.

SCE, Avista, TXU, and Hydro One Recognized with Chartwell’s 2015 Best Practices Awards
Every year, Chartwell recognizes best practices in Brand Marketing, Product Marketing, Billing and Payment Programs, Outage Communications, and Customer Service. This year’s winner list included some truly outstanding examples of how to creatively leverage technology to both improve customer experience and the bottom line. Throughout the first quarter of 2016, we will be holding webinars featuring award winners. You can view the schedule and register for the webinars at this link . The deadline for entries for 2016 is Wednesday, June 15 – start thinking about your entries now!

As Utilities Move Toward Proactive Customer Contact, They Must Beware of Class Action Landmines
While Chartwell’s research shows consumers overwhelmingly looking for proactive communications, particularly during outages, the legal landscape for doing so is challenging. The risk is underscored by a nearly $5 million settlement ComEd entered into over a single text message. Chartwell has stayed close to developments on the TCPA and FCC rulings all year, and has been providing guidance to its members on how to reduce the risk of running afoul of the rules.

What Elon Musk and Google Get Wrong
My colleague, Will Adams took me to task – and included me in some heady company – on a series of blog posts (part one, part two) I did about how to grow EV sales. While I generally agree with his premise that increasing vehicle travel has negative societal impacts, I stick by my implied assertion that increasing EV sales to the detriment of internal combustion vehicles has positive impacts on both the environment and our industry. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

A Strategic Framework for Utility Customer Experience
I’m particularly humbled and gratified to see this post break into the Top 5, as I developed this strategic framework to fill a gap I identified through my work with Chartwell’s Customer Experience Research Council. We got some great feedback in the comments on the post, and I hope that it’s been useful to our industry in pursuing customer experience excellence.

It really has been an exciting year in the utility industry, and I’ve been grateful to be a part of it. On behalf of my colleagues, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season.

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