General Sessions

Utility Partner:-General Session- Transforming the Customer Journey

With more than a dozen J.D. Power awards to its credit, Salt River Project is synonymous with excellence in customer satisfaction. That commitment starts at the top. This keynote presentation will provide executive insights into how to successfully transform the customer journey through innovation, people, process, and technology.  Learn best practices on how to increase customer satisfaction and transition beyond the role of utility provider to trusted energy advisor.

Presenter: Michael Lowe, Deputy General Manager, Salt River Project

Breakout Sessions

Customer Experience and Field Employees

 LG&E and KU believes that ensuring a positive customer experience is not just the responsibility of customer service personnel, but all employees and business partners. Several years ago, the company created a customer experience training program for field employees to highlight how their actions affect the customer experience. Since the program’s launch, complaints have decreased and customer satisfaction has increased.

Presenter: Tim Melton – Manager Customer Commitment, LG&E and KU

Simplicity is Key: Embracing Zero-Platform Engagement in a Multi-Channel World

As utility customer communication channels continue to face digital disruption, it’s no longer enough to try and keep pace through a traditional omni-channel approach. To harness the multitude of available channels—mobile, desktop, SMS, social media—while remaining agile and responsive, utilities need to evolve to a “zero-platform” model of customer engagement, which focuses on creating a seamless experience that empowers customers to interact with the company when, where and how the customer wants.

ComEd’s Jennifer Montague will elaborate on how utilities can embrace this shift to a “zero-platform” mindset, and how it can help utilities surprise and delight customers through the use of new technology such as wearables, augmented/virtual reality and other mobile devices.

Presenter: Jennifer Montague – Director, Business Strategy and Technology, ComEd

Increasing Engagement through Online Customer Communities

What if you had instant access to customers to help make timely business decisions? Would your customers steer you in a different direction than you expected? Find out how Alliant Energy engages its online customer community to get quick, reliable voice-of-customer data while building deeper relationships with customers. Learn why customers want to be heard and how 55% response rates are achievable – without participation incentives.

Presenter: Shawn Kapper – Manager, Customer Experience, Alliant Energy

National Grid’s Journey to a Best-in-Class Online Experience

Realizing that an easy-to-navigate, seamless digital experience is essential to improving customer satisfaction, National Grid is on a continuous journey to improve its web and mobile design. Discover how the utility has successfully endeavored to deliver a best-in-class online experience across a large, multi-state service territory.

Presenter: Steven Abatiello – Manager, Web Operations, National Grid

Enhancing Digital Customer Relationships with Marketing Automation

In this session, attendees will learn how marketing automation tools and strategies can help utilities design experiences to enhance digital customer relationships. Specifically, by better utilizing automated emails prompted by customer actions, companies can engage more effectively with customers and build a better customer experience.

Presenter: Sonia McCollum – Web Manager, Southern Company

Using Psycho-Linguistics to Trigger Trust

Winning back customer trust with a resilient complaints team is essential, and agents must be able to bounce back from difficult conversations throughout the day. In this session, British Gas will outline the development of a custom training program that enhanced the emotional intelligence and resilience of complaint team agents. During this presentation, you will learn about the use of actors to drive home the difference between rational and emotional conversations, workshops that helped agents create emotionally acceptable arguments and the psychological feedback each agent received from a clinical psychologist highlighting the implications of their personal Emotional Intelligence scores.

Presenters: Dr. Valerie Bram – Managing Director, T2 UK Ltd
Lynda Campbell – Culture Angel, formally Regional Director, British Gas
Robert Ace – Senior Associate, T2 UK Ltd

Allocating Marketing Budgets under the Mass Save Brand

As part of Mass Save, a consortium of Massachusetts gas and electric utilities and energy efficiency service providers, Liberty Utilities works with other members to help the state’s residents and businesses manage energy use and related costs. Learn how Liberty Utilities budgets on a statewide basis to support brand-building and advertising strategy under the Mass Save brand and how the consortium’s budgeting has evolved to educate customers. This session will also provide a brief history of Mass Save, which took home Chartwell’s 2015 Silver Award in Brand Marketing for its 2014 campaign to increase brand awareness.

Presenter: Trish Walker, Senior Energy Efficiency Program Manager, Liberty Utilities

Next-Generation Digital Engagement for the Utility of the Future

The energy supply and management market is becoming increasingly complex, sophisticated and competitive. This changing landscape sets the stage for us to redefine the utility of the future. Under New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding, utilities in the state have been challenged to explore innovative new business models that rethink the role of the utility and fundamentally shift the way that the grid must be managed. This session by Con Edison will examine how its Building Efficiency Marketplace demonstration project for REV is enabling utilities to more effectively engage their commercial customers – in energy efficiency, distributed energy resources, and new solutions and products.

In partnership with Ecova, Con Edison’s Building Efficiency Marketplace program has been designed to provide sustainable, profitable business models for utilities as they move toward a more distributed, customer-centric energy system. New advances in digital engagement are helping utilities to deliver customer-specific insights at scale so their business customers can make informed decisions about their energy management and experience better interactions with their utility. This program and similar models will enable utilities across the nation to deepen their customer relationships, while introducing new revenue streams and driving more value for the broader energy efficiency and distributed energy market.

Presenter: Tim Lezgus – Project Manager, Con Edison

Creating Company Brand Ambassadors with Duke Energy’s “I Can Help” Mobile App

With just a few taps on a smartphone or tablet, Duke Energy employees can now assist friends, family members and neighbors with service questions and issues they are having with the company. With the new “I Can Help” mobile app, customer issues (along with any applicable photo evidence) can be escalated, Duke Energy contact information shared and important Duke Energy topics in the news searched – all in response to a question or concern raised by a customer. Through this app, Duke Energy has enabled thousands of employees to be effective brand ambassadors – supporting customers anytime and anywhere, in or out of the office.

Presenter: Scott Abbott – Channel Strategy Manager, Duke Energy

Xcel Energy: Best Practices in Rate Case Communications

Rate cases are among the most challenging things for utilities to communicate to customers. With a service territory spanning multiple states, Xcel Energy has had the opportunity to hone its approach to rate case communications. Learn from Xcel’s experience – what’s worked, what hasn’t – and their current best practices to help customers understand the value that Xcel delivers vis-à-vis rate cases.

Presenter: Renee Wagner — Director, Billing Services and Operations, Xcel Energy

Diving into Digital

New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) has been operating the SAVEGREEN Project, a suite of energy-efficiency programs, since 2009. Marketing consists of traditional channels including direct mail, email and leveraging outreach with stakeholders. Since digital marketing was added in 2013, it has become the major source of leads for the project.
Presenters: Susan Ellman – Energy-Efficiency Marketing Manager, New Jersey Natural Gas
Raquel Phillips – Energy-Efficiency Program Specialist, New Jersey Natural Gas

Unconventional Means of Improving Member Engagement

Electric utilities, especially cooperatives do the normal planned events (annual meetings, member days, etc.), sponsorships, newsletter and advertisements. Learn how LCEC engages with their customers/members at the grass roots level, without spending a ton of money.
Presenter: Joe Padgett, Director, Customer Care Operations, LCEC

Standing Out in the Crowd with Safety Messaging

Energy safety messaging is important, but it can easily get lost in the daily communications clutter. In this session, Con Edison’s Chris Gallo discusses some of the strategies that the New York utility is employing to reach customers, and some important lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Presenter: Chris Gallo – Senior Specialist, Customer Outreach & Education, Con Edison

Program Marketing Award Gold: Puget Sound Energy’s Energy Upgrades Campaign

Aspiring to generate a new level of enthusiasm for energy efficiency, Puget Sound Energy (PSE) implemented a revitalized approach in 2015 to attract customers to its Energy Upgrades event booth at community and sporting events throughout the state of Washington. PSE’s market research revealed an opportunity to engage with a sizable, yet challenging-to-reach audience: the “Standard Sounder” customer. Comprised of 18% of PSE’s total customer base, Standard Sounders skew 35 and older, generate above-average incomes and tend to prioritize cost savings over environmental initiatives. To reach this segment, the utility leveraged a distinct engagement tool, a Willy Wonka-inspired “Golden Upgrade” ticket, to entice customers to locate its booth at events and discover their energy efficiency prize. The utility awarded 33,403 instant energy-savings upgrades throughout the 2015 campaign, surpassing its goal of 25,000. Over the course of the campaign, PSE engaged with 61,520 customers through ticket distribution and attracted 33,403 customers to its Energy Upgrades booth, yielding a 54.3% redemption rate.

Presenters: Dennis Rominger – Market Manager, Puget Sound Energy
Jenifer Gonzales – Marketing Program Manager, Puget Sound Energy

Expanding the EV Infrastructure: KCP&L’s Clean Charge Network

In January 2015, KCP&L announced plans to install a network of more than 1,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the region, one of the largest electric vehicle charging station installations undertaken by an electric utility in the United States. The effort has elevated the Kansas City metro area to a top-tier location for electric vehicle owners. This presentation will describe the KCP&L Clean Charge Network deployment and the outreach activities carried out to create a positive customer experience.

Presenters: Kristin Riggins – Sustainability Products Manager, Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L)
Courtney Hughley – Corporate Communications Manager, Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L)

Communications Award Gold: ComEd’s Icebox Derby

ComEd’s 2015 Icebox Derby provided female students the opportunity to gain real-world experience through a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-based educational competition. Over the course of four weeks, students ages 13-18 participated in a series of challenges as they worked to convert old refrigerators from ComEd’s Fridge and Freezer Recycling into racing vehicles for the Icebox Derby event held on August 17, 2015. ComEd’s brand tracking research indicated the utility’s reputation improved among customers aware of the Icebox Derby, and the utility has committed to continuing the program on an annual basis.

Presenter: Elizabeth Keating, Communications Manager, ComEd

Opportunity is Calling: Finding the Hidden Value Inside Your Contact Center

Utility contact centers field some of the most challenging customer interactions — and gather some of the most interesting customer data. Join this session to hear how APS is developing innovative approaches to capitalize on this touch point and turn customer calls into opportunities to deliver energy-saving and money-saving tips, thereby increasing satisfaction. APS will share insights into who is most likely to call the call center, educating customers on energy usage, and driving customers toward self-service in order to transform the customer experience.

Presenter: Sharon Connolly – Senior Marketing Program Manager, Arizona Public Service (APS)

Billing and Payment Programs Award Gold: Increasing Paperless Billing with Targeted Marketing

When SCE took a hard look at its billing portfolio in 2014, the company saw an opportunity for huge cost savings. A cross-functional team took on the challenge of developing and executing a strategy to shift customers to paperless billing. The initiative was designed around concepts built over many years of developing effective marketing strategies. As a result of its efforts, the company was able to shift customer behavior and realize $1.9 million in savings during 2015.

Presenter: Ajá Reneé Clarke – Project Manager, Customer Engagement, Southern California Edison (SCE)

Outage Communications Award Gold: Leveraging Smart Grid Analytics to Predict Outages

Like something out of a science fiction film, Florida Power & Light can now predict customer outages before they happen. The utility’s Smart Grid and Innovation team has created an algorithm to detect distinct patterns in millions of data points from more than 4.8 million smart meters. Being able to predict future outages up to three days in advance represents a paradigm shift for customer and utility alike. Applying the algorithm prevents longer unplanned outages, relieves customers from the inconvenience of reporting problems and reduces response time for repairs – saving the utility more than $1 million in operations and maintenance costs annually.

Presenters: Dave Herlong – Director, Smart Grid and Innovation, FPL Power Delivery
Adam Meranda – Manager of Quality and Analytics, FPL Power Delivery

TCPA Risk Management and Compliance

With TCPA class-action lawsuits and major settlement payments in the headlines, companies in all industries must consider how they contact customers and potentially make changes to decrease the risk of potential litigation. This session will provide an overview of the statute and the FCC’s regulations that apply to communications with the public and with customers. Attendees will also learn about issues that may be of particular interest to those active in the utility space, including the pending request for FCC clarification on the scope of any “emergency purpose” exception to having prior consent to call and some common issues encountered by companies attempting to comply with heightened FCC rule requirements.

Presenter: Laura H. Phillips, Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath

Customer Service Award Gold: PSE&G’s MyAlerts IVR Enrollment Process

PSE&G sought to improve the customer experience by merging IVR with the sign-up process for the utility’s customizable MyAlerts, a proactive notifications system. The utility had big goals for MyAlerts enrollment, but, as is often the case, did not have the marketing budget to match its ambitions. When a customer calls to pay their bill or to report a power outage, the IVR recognizes the customer’s MyAlerts status – enrolled or not – by notification type, and when appropriate in the context of the IVR transaction prompts the customer to enroll or confirm enrollment. This IVR enrollment process helped the utility to double MyAlerts enrollment in just a few weeks, rising to a utility record of 3,000 enrollments in a single day.

Presenter: Jared Osorio – Supervisor, Customer Technology, PSE&G

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