Self service isn’t a Solo venture

Rebecca Harris, Research Analyst –

In the Star Wars universe, Han Solo is a swash-buckling smuggler. While he presents himself as a loner who can’t wait to set off on his own again, he never leaves Chewbacca, Luke or Leia behind. With the help of his friends, he learns to put others before himself and becomes a leader in the Rebellion. And let’s not forget the rescue mission in Return of the Jedi, in which every main character is employed to save Han from Jabba the Hutt.

Utilities, like Han, know that no venture is done solo. Creating a satisfying self-service experience takes a lot of work behind the scenes.

For example, Idaho Power redesigned its IVR menu in 2016 to raise its IVR containment rate. Idaho Power worked with IVR Doctors and Interactive Intelligence to design, test and implement its new IVR. The customer care group workshopped the new menu with the CEO and customers. At the time Idaho Power shared its experience during a Chartwell webinar in April 2017, the utility had increased its IVR containment by 12%.

DTE Energy first introduced kiosks in 2014. Kiosks are integral to DTE’s self-service strategy, but the utility knew it couldn’t provide a good customer experience without properly training customers to use the new devices. Instead, DTE focused on seamlessly moving customers from payment windows to kiosks. The kiosks were first placed in office lobbies and staffed by DTE employees to assist new users. Over time, DTE closed payment windows and directed customers to the kiosks. Then, the offices were closed completely, and customers were directed to use kiosks at pharmacies, community centers and other locations. Today, kiosks are DTE’s highest rated payment channel in terms of customer satisfaction.

Chartwell would like to learn about your utility’s experience with self service. Our Self Service Industry Survey is in the field now, and covers various topics, including preference management, self-service strategy, analytics and performance measurement. For more information and to take the survey, please contact Zahra Dhanani at

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