Submissions will soon be open for Chartwell’s 2021 Best Practices Awards

By Suzanne Haggerty, Senior Manager of Customer Engagement —

In retrospect, the past year feels like a time warp, with the days alternately slowing down to a crawl and speeding up a la “Wait, how is it August already?”

Events were canceled or postponed. Languages were learned. Puzzles were completed. Breads were baked. Business casual turned into business athleisure.

But whether we were wearing proper button-ups in well-appointed home offices or our cleanest T-shirts while sharing wi-fi and kitchen tables with remote-learning teens, progress was made.

With so much of everyday in life in upheaval, reliable electricity, gas and water delivery became even more important. Seamless customer service and clear, consistent messaging were a must, and utilities delivered.

We know you have 2020 efforts that are award-worthy, whether directly related to the COVID-19 crisis or not, so we’re happy to announce the imminent kickoff of Chartwell’s Best Practices Awards. Submissions will soon be open on Chartwell’s website.

The original awards of their kind for utilities, Chartwell’s Best Practices Awards recognize excellence among electric and gas utilities with respect to projects, programs and service initiatives. The awards program is open to all utilities – large, small, IOUs, cooperatives, and municipals – across North America. Vendors or consultants may submit on behalf of a utility provided they have the utility’s permission and list a contact at the utility.

The submission deadline is Wednesday, June 9. Some or all of the effort should have been undertaken between January 2020 and May 2021.

Chartwell’s 2021 Best Practices Awards categories:

  • Billing and Payment Programs
    This category recognizes initiatives focused on improving customer service and satisfaction related to billing and/or payment programs. Entries may include, but are not limited to, bill redesign, online bill pay, leveraging data and integration of new technologies.
  • Communications
    This category recognizes initiatives designed to improve a utility image or brand, educate customers on issues such as rate cases and safety, increase brand awareness and relay corporate strategy.
  • Customer Service
    This category recognizes initiatives focused on improving customer service and satisfaction through interactions with customer service representatives via phone, social media, chat or other channels or self-service transactions through the IVR. Entries may include, but are not limited to, efforts related to training, systems and technologies.
  • Digital Experience
    This category recognizes initiatives focused on improving customer service and satisfaction via self-service channels such as web, mobile and virtual assistants.
  • Program Marketing
    This category recognizes initiatives designed to promote products and services.
  • People’s Choice – Video Category
    This category recognizes outstanding creative achievement in short video marketing/communications efforts, such as TV spots or digital pre-roll. Submitted videos should be no more than 1 minute long.

Entering the People’s Choice — Video category is easy. Simply submit your video along with the following information outlined in 1,000 characters or less:

  • Where the video was played (TV, utility website, Facebook, YouTube, third-party sites, etc.)
  • The video’s release date (videos must have been released between January 2020 and May 2021)
  • Goals of the video (brand marketing, program participation, etc.)
  • Viewing statistics

The other categories require a short summary along with a detailed project description (1,800 words maximum) that includes the following:

  • A history of the project/program or effort.
  • Details about the effort including significant dates, major participants and target audience.
  • The goals and results of the project/program or effort, including how results were measured.
  • The facts and features making the project innovative and unique.
  • How the project meets the criteria for the respective award, as outlined above.
  • The reason it should win the Best Practices Award.

We’ll share more submission requirements soon. In the meantime, make plans to attend our complimentary webinar, titled Writing a Winning Entry for Chartwell’s Best Practices Awards, on May 12. I’ll share some tips on topics such as choosing metrics for your submission, writing a clear, concise narrative and selecting engaging and informative visuals. I’ll be joined by some of Chartwell’s most experienced members of the judging team — Russ Henderson and Noah Solomon — who will discuss what they look for in a winning submission.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss the call for submissions, fill out this form and I’ll make sure you’re on the initial list for outreach.

    You can also email me at awards@chartwellinc.com with any questions. I look forward to hearing about all of your great industry achievements!