Sessions

Click here for an agenda at-a-glance.

* Agenda is subject to change.


General Sessions

Keynote Session:

Disrupt, or Be the Disrupted  

Industry transformation is critical if utilities are going to compete with the non-traditional players providing products and services to customers. Michael Cross, Entergy’s Vice President of Innovation, is new to the utility industry, but he has a track record of leading essential disruption in several verticals, including financial services, healthcare, and property and casualty insurance. In his keynote address, Cross will share some of his stories of applying innovation best practices, along with tips that will give EMACS attendees some of the muscle needed to be THAT utility company of the future.

Speaker:

Michael Cross – Vice President Innovation, Entergy


Panel Discussion: Improving Digital Customer Experience

Panelists from leading utilities will discuss their journey to improve digital channel offerings by making self-service solutions easy and accessible through multiple channels. Discover how these improvements have stemmed increased customer satisfaction, while delivering operational savings and efficiency. Throughout the discussion, Chartwell will share new research on trends in consumer communication preferences and the importance of digital channels.

Moderator:

Rachael Harper – Research Manager, Chartwell Inc.

Panelists:

Royce Workman – Director of Customer Experience, NiSource 

Nancy Casanova – Digital Content Strategist, Southern California Edison


Panel Discussion: Maintaining C&I Loyalty in a Greener Future

As utilities continue to improve their business customer satisfaction, they face the economic reality that more large electricity consumers are turning to greener ways of meeting their long-term goals for energy sustainability and resiliency. What can utilities do to retain the loyalty of C&I customers and avoid the financial pain of large-scale grid defection? Our panelists will share insights and strategies to help utilities adjust and succeed in this changing energy landscape.

Moderator:

Suzanne Haggerty – Senior Manager of Customer Engagement, Chartwell, Inc. 

Panelists:

Jennie King – Director of Strategic Energy Management, Salt River Project (SRP)
Bryan Falconer – Major Account Manager, Southern California Edison


Customer Choice in Energy – Emera’s Perspective on the Changing Landscape and Approaches to Keep Pace

Customer development, the process of continually creating new products to meet evolving customer demand, is a core strategic concept in all competitive industries that is starting to take hold in the energy market.  This session will discuss how evolving customer dynamics in the energy sector are moving the customer discussion from customer experience (instant everything, simple, personalized, digital, …) to customer choice in energy solutions.  Learn how Emera is responding to the evolving energy market forces.  Louise Anne will share her experiences and insights from more than 20 years identifying business development opportunities for diverse industries including aerospace, hospitality and retail.

Speaker:

Louise-Anne Comeau – Vice President, Customer Development, Emera


Executive Panel: 2020 and Beyond

Smarter phones, smarter homes, a smarter grid – new technologies and the opportunities they bring are driving customer expectations and disrupting business and regulatory models that have remained relatively unchanged for the last century. Executive leadership plays a tremendous role in how utilities navigate these challenges while remaining focused on satisfying customers at every touch point. How are utilities addressing and coping with these changes? Where does their focus lie? How do their strategies today differ from yesterday? This panel will offer thoughtful executive insights from leading, customer-focused utilities. Topics to be addressed include challenges facing the industry, opportunities for improvement and priorities for the future.

Moderator:

Tracie Boutte – Vice President, Customer Experience, Entergy

Panelists:

Louise-Anne Comeau – Vice President Customer Development, Emera 
Tara Oglesby— Vice President of Customer Experience, Ameren Missouri


Delivering the Energy Experience of the Future

Customers expect a modern customer experience from their utilities that takes their personal energy habits and preferences, past energy purchases and actions into account. Call it the Amazon Effect, but it’s no secret that customers crave customized recommendations. It sounds simple enough, but from a backend perspective is incredibly complex. Personalization means unifying data silos across multiple organizations across the utility and building robust data science capabilities to model and predict future actions from previous interactions. If utilities accomplish this, they can create an interconnected experience by determining the best energy actions for a customer––saving them both energy and money. As the complexity of energy options increases with TOU rates, demand charges, electric vehicles and DERS, the best path forward isn’t to let customers figure it out on their own. The energy experience of the future begins with utilities having an in-depth understanding of their customers that helps guide them toward the most relevant energy actions––delivered at the right time on a customers’ channel(s) of choice. This session will deliver real-world examples of utilities that are already offering customers a personalized and unified customer experience.

Speaker:

Indran Ratnathicam – Vice President of Marketing, Uplight


Achieving Both Customer Affordability and Increased Customer Satisfaction in a New Energy Landscape

Learn what Ameren Missouri is doing to drive customer affordability while understanding and meeting changing customer expectations in a new energy landscape. This includes offering innovative options for customers that result in a lower cost to serve while increasing their satisfaction. With more than 25 years of experience in the utility industry, Tara Oglesby will draw on her expertise and perspective to discuss the importance of building support throughout an organization and reveal how Ameren Missouri attained alignment to achieve goals in this area.

Speaker:

Tara Oglesby – Vice President of Customer Experience, Ameren Missouri


Bank on Data: Delivering Insights and Fortifying the Customer Experience

In today’s landscape data is king but how do we navigate this vast territory, maintain integrity, and provide customers/employees with self-servicing insights? In this session Corey will discuss the real-world value of humanizing your data strategy, and how to make a powerful impact by developing a personalized roadmap true to your brand mission.

Speaker:

Corey LeBlanc – Chief Digital and Innovation Officer, Origin Bank


Controlling the Narrative: A Live Demonstration of SCE’s Customer Communications Portal

The modern customer expects their utility to proactively provide relevant information as a two-way dialogue, at the right time, in the proper format, over their preferred channel. Consistent with their other brand experiences, customers expect these interactions to expose tools to reduce friction with the least amount of effort. For utilities, the inherent complexities of meeting these demands can be challenging: delivering large volumes of time-sensitive multichannel communications, ensuring the integrity of customer contact information and the relevance of the information shared, while supporting internal business rules and operational practices through integration with disparate data systems.

In this fast-paced session, Message Broadcast and Chartwell Gold Winner Southern California Edison take you to the scene of an impending large-scale outage event. Watch the two work together in real time as they execute against an emergency plan and are forced to pivot communications due to unforeseen events.

During the presentation you will learn how to:

  • Identify and influence real-time customer sentiment
  • Monitor and execute on situational awareness during events
  • Deploy personalized ad-hoc communications during unpredictable events
  • Leverage TCPA Safe Harbors to validate existing customer contact data
  • Collect contact information and preference within each interaction
  • Move seamlessly on and off playbook messaging

Speakers:

Tomaso Giannelli – Senior Manager, Business Customer Division, Outage Management & Communications Team, Southern California Edison (SCE)

Bill Joiner – Chief Strategy Officer, Message Broadcast


The Power of Effective CX and Communications

In this interactive session, leading utility provider Con Edison will share insights into their customer communications strategy. Adam Berke from Broadridge will lead the discussion where you’ll discover Con Edison’s objectives and challenges, lessons learned, and best practices in delivering an optimal omni-channel customer experience, online payments, getting customers to go paperless and more.

Speakers:

Adam Berke – Senior Director, Product Sales, Broadridge

Raymond Joseph – Bill Delivery Operations Manager, Con Edison


Utility Marketplaces: Today and Tomorrow

Using new consumer and industry data, Chartwell will highlight trends in the utility marketplace arena, including interest in rebate programs, smart thermostats and other related products and services. Chartwell will discuss recent developments in the vendor space and what the future holds.

Speaker:

Russ Henderson – Senior Research Manager, Chartwell, Inc.


In It to Win It – Chartwell’s Team Networking Challenge

Test your industry knowledge and collaboration skills during this fun, fast-paced exercise showcasing Chartwell’s latest industry benchmarks and trends. Connect with your peers as you work to come up with the right answers. The highest-scoring team wins the prize!

Moderator:

Scott Johnson – Vice President, Chartwell Inc.


Breakout Sessions


Redesigning the Digital Customer Experience

NiSource recently completed an initiative to give the utility’s new website a simple and intuitive design that focused on drawing customers into their MyAccount portal. The utility consolidated websites across operating companies and reduced the number of webpages from 1,700 to 650. Throughout the process NiSource focused on four key areas: customer ease and navigation, mobile friendly design, making the website scalable over a multi-year timeline, and improving content management capabilities for employees. The utility has seen a 152% increase in MyAccount signups, a 23% increase in online payments, a 115% increase in paperless enrollments, and a 66% increase in autopay enrollments.

Speaker:

Royce Workman Director of Customer Experience, NiSource
Stephen Gill User Experience (UX) Channel Manager, NiSource
Linda Siddons – Director, Meter to Cash Administration, NiSource


Improving CSAT and Reducing Costs with a Focused Bill Redesign (Best Practices Award Winner : Billing and Payment) 

When Tucson Electric Power determined that customers would be more satisfied with a redesigned and more useful bill, the company explored Chartwell research, customer focus group findings and other utility bill designs to deliver a new, easy-to-read bill with enhanced messaging and data. The cross-functional effort was comprehensive and collaborative, leveraging technology to reduce costs and improve the customer experience. After successful testing and implementation, the new bill has been welcomed by residential and commercial customers, resulting in an overall CSAT increase as well as positive gains in bill-specific satisfaction numbers.

Speakers:

Denise Richerson – Director of Customer Care and Customer Experience, Tucson Electric Power (TEP)

Linda Tiarks – Customer Information Supervisor, Tucson Electric Power (TEP)


Energizing and Improving the Customer Experience: APS’ Digital Customer Care Journey  

In 2018, APS recognized the need for increased service channel options to meet customers in the digital space. In just two months, the company launched a live chat pilot that would be the catalyst to redefine a new associate position. In 2019, the Digital Customer Care Team was formed to handle digital interactions through chat, social media and email. Achieving an 8% customer satisfaction improvement in live chat in just seven months, APS has energized its customer experience by focusing on resolution and service. Attend this session to hear about the company’s digital journey and the road ahead.

Speaker:

Kimarie Aycock – Supervisor, Digital Customer Care, Arizona Public Service


Keeping Customers Engaged with Social Media

Social media is no longer an optional communications channel for utilities – customers (and many regulators) expect it, and they expect a lot from it. As part of its content strategy, FirstEnergy looks across the company to identify and develop stories that resonate with its audience, share information, educate customers on important topics and issues, and humanize the company. Attend this session to learn how to use internal resources to develop engaging social content – including videos, images and feature stories – for your customers, with any size team and budget.

Speakers:

Christy HajowaySenior Communications Representative, Social Media Strategy, FirstEnergy

Lauren Siburkis – Advanced Communications Representative, Digital Storytelling, FirstEnergy


Panel: New and Emerging Technologies: How Can Utilities Stay Ahead of the Curve?

This panel will focus on new and emerging technologies in the utility industry and beyond, the impacts on utilities, the industry, and customer preferences and satisfaction. This session will also look at how utilities can successfully implement these new technologies and utilize them to enhance their efficiency and their customers’ satisfaction.

Moderator:

Bill Patchett – Manager of Revenue Accounting, Salt River Project (SRP)

Panelists:

Shawn Bielke – Product Manager, Xcel Energy

Gabriel Núñez – Senior eChannel Program Manager, Baltimore Gas & Electric

Karen Cheung – Senior Manager, Digital Products and Portfolio, Southern California Edison (SCE)


Invasion of the Fatbergs: JEA’s Campaign to Stop Sewer-Blocking Blobs (Best Practices Award Winner: Communications) 

Utilities providing sewer service are aware of the dangers of fatbergs, those clotted masses of solid waste consisting of non-biodegradable products (i.e., bathroom wipes) that are flushed down the toilet and congealed grease that has been poured down the drain. Unfortunately, the average consumer doesn’t understand that these blockages can clog and even break pipes, resulting in health and safety dangers from raw sewage backups, and may unknowingly be contributing to and exacerbating the problem. JEA’s creative ‘60s monster cinema-styled “Invasion of the Fatbergs” campaign, viewed more than 1.7 million times in 49 states and 70 countries, has been recognized as an award-winning multimedia educational campaign that will ultimately change flushing and grease-disposal habits. The campaign’s exceptional performance across all quantifiable and qualitative measures demonstrates the value of applying strategic and tactical best practices to creative development, media planning and placement, as well as the integration of paid, owned and earned media communications.

Speakers:

David Goldberg – Director Customer & Community Engagement, JEA

Melissa Ham, Manager, Marketing and Advertising, JEA


Fast Forward: The Future of Customer Experience

In this session, utility industry partners will highlight innovations, new tools and technologies through a series of short presentations followed by brief Q&A. Topics to be covered include: working to make digital transformations come to life for customers; extending brand by positioning utilities as a trusted resource; aligning technology options to elevate customers’ experiences and maintain their trust; and improving utility customer satisfaction program enrollment and brand equity through concierge-level service during the moving experience.

Speakers: 

Joe Cromer – Director of Portals & Collaboration, DEG, Linked by Isobar

Dwight Scruggs – Executive Vice President of Strategic Partnerships, Kandela, a division of Porch.com Inc.

Jamie Timm – Partner, Dynamit

Garrett Gerst – Director of Marketing, Bridgevine


Increasing ePayment Adoption: How to Steer Your Customers to this Lower-Cost Channel

According to Chartwell research, utilities across the U.S. and Canada have been hard at work over the past several years to expand and improve existing payment offerings and explore emerging payment methods and channels. The result is more streamlined, more effective and more prevalent offerings of digital payment options. ePayments, JEA’s lowest-cost payment option, account for 75% of the utility’s total residential and commercial payment volume. Attendees at this session will learn about JEA’s successful ePayment adoption strategies and the company’s plans to grow ePayment adoption even higher.

Speaker:

Dan Boatwright – Manager of Receivables and Collections Services, JEA


Comprehensive Marketing Improvements to Invigorate Energy Efficiency Efforts

NB Power was awarded the 2019 Consumer Engagement Award for the revitalization of its energy efficiency portfolio and marketing with a focus on achieving high customer engagement metrics. In 2018 alone, homeowners and businesses across NB Power’s service territory achieved more than $9.5 million in energy savings. Learn more about NB Power’s experience and how it achieved increased overall awareness of energy efficiency across the province through new programs designed to meet market need and comprehensive marketing and communication plans.

Speaker:

Beth Pollock – Senior Manager, Energy Efficiency Services, NB Power


eBill Adoption: Learn Strategies and Best Practices from an Industry Leader

In 2018 BC Hydro boasted an eBill adoption rate of 60%, well above the 2018 industry average of 34%. In this session, Nirla Sharma will discuss the BC Hydro’s growth in customer eBill enrollment, strategies it used to successfully reach this achievement and the utility’s plans to continue expanding eBill adoption in the future. Join Nirla to learn how to use BC Hydro’s best practices to help drive eBill adoption growth at your utility.

Speaker:

Nirla Sharma – Billing & Payments Team Manager, BC Hydro


Improving the Escalated Call Experience with CSR Coaching and Enhanced Processes (Best Practices Award Winner: Contact Center) 

To provide a best-in-class customer experience when an escalated call makes its way into ComEd’s call center, ComEd launched a two-fold project in 2017. First, the utility partnered with Ulysses Learning to increase CSR engagement, build emotional intelligence and elevate customer service skills. ComEd also leveraged and enhanced established customer-focused programs to modify processes, behaviors and system enhancements to provide a better experience. ComEd’s ongoing efforts have resulted in increased CSAT scores, brand reputation, and employee engagement, as well as verbatims from customers delighted with their CSR interactions.

Speaker:

Richard Shaw – Manager, Customer Care Center, ComEd


The New Customer Engagement Strategy For Utilities – Power Up Quality of Life

Are you looking for a new angle when it comes to talking energy efficiency with your customers? Is the “cost savings” story that is ubiquitous in the energy industry feeling stale as you look for fresh ways to engage your customers? We’ll be sharing insights from our research of 500 customers around their perception of energy products and services and the role they play in their life beyond saving money and having a positive impact on the environment. In our session you will discover:

  • Fresh data from our current study on the consumer mindset around wellbeing and its tie to energy services and products
  • Learnings from our campaigns with National Grid and their customers’ perspective on energy efficiency motivations
  • The innovative and exciting intersection between energy efficiency and wellness (supported by research and industry examples)
  • Unique insights on how to position your utility as an integral part of your consumers’ wellbeing and overall quality of life

Speakers:

Stephanie Crockett – Executive Vice President, Mower

Lisa Dolbear – Director, Account Planning, Strategist for Energy + Sustainability Specialty, Mower


Targeting Business Customers with Data-Driven Insights (Best Practices Award Winner: Program Marketing) 

The Pepco and Delmarva Energy Savings for Business Program provides financial incentives for businesses of all sizes to make energy efficiency upgrades while lowering the overall consumption of energy in the state of Maryland. The program, which supports the EmPOWER Maryland Energy Efficiency Act, lowers participation barriers by connecting reputable energy efficiency service providers with business customers, thereby providing economic development within local communities. The Pepco and Delmarva Energy Savings for Business Program marketing strategy has evolved from a mundane promotional campaign to a synergistic, data-driven approach that marries outreach and customer care initiatives. As a result of its enhanced strategy, Pepco and Delmarva exceeded their 2018 energy goals for medium to large businesses.

Speaker:

 William R. Ellis –  Sr. Portfolio Manager, Energy Efficiency, Pepco Holdings


Outage Communication: How to Deliver an Award-Winning Customer Experience

SCE earned Chartwell’s 2019 Gold Best Practices in Outage Communications Award after the utility overcame the most difficult year in its 130-year history, improving customer satisfaction despite wildfires that caused a drop in SAIDI and other reliability measures.

Session attendees will learn how to:

  • Develop and implement a strategy that encompasses both residential and business customers, as well as planned and unplanned outages
  • Adapt to rising customer expectations with tools like SCE’s outage tracker, which is built on the model of package delivery trackers such as those used by UPS and Amazon
  • Engage field employees with compelling training and mobile technology they are eager to use

Speaker:

Tomaso Giannelli – Senior Manager, Business Customer Division, Outage Management & Communications Team, Southern California Edison (SCE)


Social Media Chatbot Helps Customers Resolve Issues without Assistance from a Human Agent (Best Practices Award Winner: Self-Service) 

With the explosion of social media as a channel for customer service, SCE’s responses to customers via Facebook and Twitter grew by 391% between 2014 and 2017. Assuming this rate of growth would continue, the utility began looking for ways to more efficiently manage this channel without sacrificing customer satisfaction or increasing resources. After exploring the possibility of building an in-house AI-based chatbot, SCE instead turned to Sprout Social, its social community management platform, for a structured, decision-tree-based chatbot to communicate immediately, efficiently and directly with customers, especially when a single issue generates more traffic than its human agents can handle. As a result, the total number of responses from human agents decreased in 2018, even as the total responses on social media channels increased. Best of all, this solution added only a few thousand dollars a year to SCE’s annual Sprout Social bill.

Speaker:

Nancy Casanova – Digital Content Strategist, Southern California Edison (SCE)


Payments – Where Utilities Are and Where Customers Want Them to Be

Noah Solomon will present new Chartwell research on trends, benchmarks and opportunities for growth in payment channels and methods, as well as customer preferences to empower utilities to drive customer experience and satisfaction in payment options.

Speaker:

Noah Solomon – Research Manager, Chartwell, Inc.


Digitally Transforming Customer Engagements – Meeting Utility Clients at THEIR Moment of Need

By 2020, 85% of all customer engagement will take place without the aid of a human… so how are leading utility organizations achieving this via the digital transformation of their customer engagement? Embracing clients at their moments of need is more crucial than ever before… Join us as we examine how our clients provide meaningful business impact and win in the highly competitive battleground of customer experience. Discover the digital tools – Chatbot, Personalized Video, Mobile Optimized, Document Composition, Interactive Billing and Self-Service – that are enabling customer-obsessed organizations to embrace new market opportunities, retain existing customers and exceed expectations.

Speaker:

Lisa Sutrick – Managing Director, Customer Engagement Solutions, Pitney Bowes


Running a High Performing Call Center on a Nonprofit Cooperative Utility Budget

For five consecutive years, Lee County Electric Cooperative has been certified as a Center of Excellence by BenchmarkPortal. During this session, LCEC will reveal how it has utilized best-in-class customer care strategies and performance metrics to ensure the best possible service for electric customers, including details on:

  • Developing and using a call center performance quadrant
  • The necessity of an engaged workforce
  • Investing in a quality monitoring group

Speaker:

Gary Avin – Director and Chief Customer Advocate, LCEC


Leveraging Customer Panels to Drive Customer Satisfaction and Experience

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) launched its Customer Panel initiative in 2016 as part of a broader customer experience strategy to collect and utilize the voice of the customer to develop, prioritize or launch projects.  While customer satisfaction research, tracking surveys and industry best practices from Chartwell helped to identify opportunities and define next steps, ultimately small group discussions with residential or business customers helped validate assumptions, uncover improvements and even put a few things on-hold for another time.

During this session, TEP will share how they implemented the program; mini-case studies on bill redesign, outage communications, and a small business contact center; overall and project specific research findings that increased customer satisfaction; and how you could  design a cost-effective customer panel program at your company.

Speaker:

John Bord – Manager of Customer Experience, Tucson Electric Power


Improving Customer Experience with Genuine Customer Centricity

Total quality, customer satisfaction, customer experience … these are just a few cross-industry labels for efforts to evolve to a more customer focused business. From low income to large industrial customers, these efforts have all aspired to drive satisfaction, improve loyalty and engage of customers in new and creative ways. Is Customer Centricity just a new flavor in this long line of craftly branded efforts or is it the last frontier for developing meaningful and sustainable customer relationships.

Attend this session to learn more about Entergy’s transformation to customer centricity.

Speaker:

Pat Ricks – Senior Manager, Customer Experience, Entergy


Restoring Customer Trust in Utility Phone Calls

The FCC recently voted to allow phone companies to automatically block both suspected illegal and “unwanted” calls, even without consumer opt-in, based on “reasonable analytics.” For legitimate enterprises, unfortunately, outbound customer communications are often impacted, with calls being blocked or tagged as “SCAM.”

The utility industry already suffers low customer answer rates, resulting in unnecessary confusion and inefficiencies when customers fail to receive timely, critical information about their services and accounts. Utility phone scams only add to the noise, with call spoofing and utility brand impersonation causing customers to suffer from fraudulent activities. In this session, utility call center executives will learn how emerging technologies are improving customer trust in outbound communication.

Attendees will learn details on how to:

  • Improve the customer experience with more effective communications while mitigating phone call blocking.
  • Ensure calls are not falsely identified as spam or robocalls.
  • Protect your brand and customer service numbers from spoofing by scammers.
  • Understand best practices for business identification with accurate caller name services.

Speakers:

Daniel Clark – Neustar Senior Consultant, Utilities, Neustar


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