Sessions

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General Sessions


Sweat the Small Stuff, Slay Monsters and Play with Heart … Beyond Strategies, Projects and Stats!

Our industry is transforming. Technology is changing all around us, and our competitors are not just other utilities anymore. Our business is no longer simply about the electrons traveling through wires or natural gas flowing through pipes. Customer experience is on the map of corporate strategies, boardrooms and regulators. Our industry is making unprecedented leaps in connecting with customers and improving customer satisfaction and loyalty, but the reality remains that this takes more than strategies, projects and stats. In the conference’s opening session, Monica Whiting, Vice President of Customer Experience for Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas, will share her experience in what it takes to transform cultures to be customer-centric.

Speaker: Monica Whiting – Vice President of Customer Experience, Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas


Leveraging Analytics for Customer Success:
What To Look For, What To Do and How To Measure Success For Your Customers

An ever-increasing standard for customer service is being set by others outside our industry which customers increasingly expect from us. Can utilities apply the same approach to customer experience management in order to keep up?

Speakers:
Barbara Higgins – Chief Customer Officer, Duke Energy


Employing Analytics to Better Serve your Customers

Chick-fil-A has been the top fast food restaurant in terms of customer service since Temkin began ranking fast food restaurants in 2012. The company’s commitment to gracious hospitality and efficient service from engaged employees has enabled Chick-fil-A to generate greater revenue per restaurant than other chain restaurants, even though its restaurants are only open six days a week. Chick-fil-A uses analytics to identify pain points and success stories for both its internal business partners and external customers. These insights are then used to drive innovation to create solutions, enabling better experiences and products.

Speakers:
Graciela Chadwick – Director, Chick-fil-A HELP (Initiatives and Insights), Chick-fil-A, Inc.
Heather Isaacson – Manager, Customer & Market Insights, Chick-fil-A, Inc.


Reimagining Customer Connections in an Evolving Digital Marketplace

With the exception of retail banking and telecommunications, companies across all industries have found it difficult to establish deep digital relationships with their customers via websites, apps and digital communications. Getting past this barrier has proven to be elusive, with the question being asked, “If so many consumers are digital, why are they not digital with me?” This question certainly rings true for utilities, with a 37% average in digital adoption across the industry. The answer lies in the fact that consumers have many providers and maintain their digital relationships with a set of tools and services they use every day. Utility companies are recognizing a better strategy is to tie in to the tools their customers already leverage by syndicating their content and enabling engagement across the Internet.

During this session, Broadridge will discuss technology and communication trends, how to execute and benefit from content syndication, and how to drive digital engagement to reduce costs and improve the customer experience.

Speaker:
Matt Swain – Managing Director, Broadridge


From 😡 to 😍: Leveraging Social Media to Increase Customer Satisfaction

As customers increasingly expect to interact with utilities through social media, an engaging presence has become a necessity for forward-thinking companies. This panel brings together three utilities that are leading the way in customer engagement via social media by offering efficient customer care, effective crisis management and engaging content.

Panelists:
Sabrina Potirala – Senior Program Manager, ComEd
Nicole Bradshaw – Manager of Digital and Social Media, Entergy
Sarah Sharp – Marketing Manager, Entergy
Glen Brangers – Digital Communications, Georgia Power

Moderator: 
Ruchi Solanki – Research Analyst, Chartwell


New Revenue Streams: What do Customers Really Want to Buy from their Utility?

As energy consumption continues to decline, utilities are on the lookout for alternative revenue streams. Attend this session to learn what customers think about purchasing other products and services from their utility – and which ones they will actually buy – as Mower reports on results from surveying hundreds of consumers and shares lessons learned from FirstEnergy’s first year of product marketing via its Online Marketplace.

Speakers:
Stephanie Crockett – Senior VP and Leader of Energy + Sustainability Specialty, Mower
Pete Wiezalis – Senior Manager, Business Development, Mower


Simplifying and Personalizing the Customer Experience

Hydro-Québec has placed clients at the heart of its priorities as part of its 2016-2020 Strategic Plan. The company has made its customer relations centers more efficient by increasing the accessibility of its services while focusing on three key concepts: simplification, personalization and self-service. Kicking off the second day of EMACS, Geneviève Fournier, Senior Director – Customer Experience, Sales and Loyalty at Hydro-Québec Distribution, will share learnings and offer insights on the following aspects of improving the utility customer experience:

  • The essential steps to move to customer-centric service
  • The role of leaders and employees in this shift
  • Simplifying accessibility of information
  • Promoting customer autonomy through self-service

Speaker: Geneviève Fournier – Senior Director – Customer Experience, Sales and Loyalty, Hydro-Québec Distribution


Engaging Utility Customers in the Digital Age: Takeaways from Chartwell’s 2018 Residential Consumer Survey

Utilities are competing for customers’ attention and loyalty in an increasingly complex business environment. In this presentation, Chartwell will shed light on key factors that influence customer satisfaction with insights from its 2018 survey of 1,500 residential consumers.

Speaker: Russ Henderson – Research Manager, Chartwell


Decentralization: Affordability and Availability of Solar/Storage/Distributed Generation/Technology Improvements

Technological advances and cost reductions in key products such as solar panels, batteries and other distributed generation give utilities new and more affordable energy options. New generation and storage options become economic alternatives for utility-scale investments. Customers continue to demand cleaner and greener electricity. As customers gain the ability to reduce dependence on the grid, in whole or in part, pressure is placed on the remaining customers to pay for historical and future infrastructure. Resulting cost increases can further incent customers to seek alternative solutions. Utilities need to deliver affordable and resilient supply options, using a workforce with new skills for the changing technology.

Speaker: Tom Hernandez – Senior Vice President, Business Strategy and Renewables, Tampa Electric


Customer Engagement: The Road Ahead

Utilities face growing challenges in their efforts to effectively engage customers while delivering consistent, personalized interactions. Customer data is growing exponentially as the number of communication channels and devices continues to increase, threatening hopes to provide a seamless, omni-channel experience across web, social, mobile, face to face and whatever comes next. Panelists will share their companies’ strategies, successes and new initiatives for overcoming these roadblocks to improving customer engagement.

Panelists: 
Megan Hegger – Manager, Customer Engagement, Ameren Missouri
Spencer Warren – Manager, Customer Experience, Hydro Ottawa
Peter Narog – Manager, Customer Insights, Xcel Energy

Moderator: 
Noah Solomon – Senior Research Analyst, Chartwell


Outage to Wallet: Leveraging Amazon Strategies for More Effective Digital Communications

The utility industry’s focus on the digital customer experience started from an operational need for efficiencies, reduced cost and improvements in customer satisfaction. Conversely, leading brands have focused on digital customer experience for the branding and influence necessary to increase profitability. Given the right technology and conversational session flows, successful customer experience does much more than educate, confirm, transact, enroll and resolve – it also produces satisfaction, loyalty and spend. Utilities are now able to leverage what these brands have taken decades to learn to produce more effective, actionable and compliant communications.

In this session, Message Broadcast will discuss specific customer communication strategies used by the world’s leading brands and their applicability to the utility industry. Importantly, the utilities that capture a high level of customer affinity with the right digital relationship will have something that Amazon and Apple don’t – relevance and true trusted energy advisors. Using the science of persuasion, a properly designed notification is not only relevant – it’s actionable. Learn how your influence and your ability to reduce customer effort in the moments that matter is a benefit to your customer, your call center and your bottom line.

Speaker: Bill Joiner – Chief Strategy Officer, Message Broadcast


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

Attendees will test their industry knowledge and collaboration skills during this fun, fast-paced exercise showcasing Chartwell’s latest benchmarks and trends across a variety of customer-facing topics. 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


‘Dear Neighbor’ Communications Enhance Customer Relationships at SCE

Over the past three years, SCE has significantly expanded its customer communications with the launch of “Dear Neighbor” communications, which proactively notify customers who may experience increased traffic, lane or street closures, noise, or other inconveniences while SCE is working on large construction projects. This communication may be in the form of a letter, email or targeted social media communications, either from SCE directly or through communication channels coordinated with affected cities.

Attend this session to learn how Dear Neighbor letters have helped SCE improve customer relationships as the company minimizes call center inquiries, reduces rescheduling of work and educates customers about the value of the grid.

Speaker: Tomaso Giannelli – Senior Manager, Southern California Edison (SCE)


Transforming the Business Customer Relationship

DTE Energy’s ongoing focus on business customer care paid off in 2017, when the utility was ranked No. 1 in J.D. Power’s electric and gas business customer satisfaction surveys. DTE Energy’s focused business customer enhancements, implemented over several years, include:A dedicated business center for small and midsize commercial customers.

  • A dedicated business center for small and midsize commercial customers.
  • An enhanced web experience, allowing business customers to manage accounts online 24/7.
  • Business energy consultations that help business customers save money and energy.

In this session, learn why and how DTE Energy made improved business customer care a company priority.

Speaker: Elvana Hammoud –Customer Strategy Manager, DTE Energy


Website Redesign Journey: Intuitive Navigation is Key

Since 2009, New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) has offered The SAVEGREEN Project® residential energy-efficiency rebates and incentives, in conjunction with New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program™, to its customers. NJNG recently redesigned the program’s website, originally developed in 2009. This presentation will cover the journey and key stages, including audience analysis, functionality, content improvement, site mapping, goals and defining success. In addition, the presenter will discuss the importance of intuitive navigation and the alignment of digital marketing strategies with website redesign.

Speaker: Raquel Phillips – Senior Marketing Program Specialist – Energy Efficiency, New Jersey Natural Gas


Engaging Employees in the Customer Experience Journey

Research shows that it takes engaged employees and a customer-centric culture to deliver on your customer experience goals. Attend this session to learn how Duke Energy engages employees in its customer experience transformation. John Lincoln, Customer Experience Leader at Duke Energy, will share how he works with different parts of the organization to assess employee strengths using CliftonStrengths® and CoreClarity®, and then uses those insights to structure teams more intentionally, increasing collaboration and effectiveness. The presentation will answer the following questions.

  • How does Duke Energy assess employee strengths?
  • How do they use those insights to structure teams?
  • What’s the value that Duke Energy is experiencing?

Speaker: John Lincoln – Customer Experience Leader, Duke Energy


Using Analytics to Enhance the Customer Experience for Business Customers

As business customer expectations change, utilities are looking for programs that leverage energy data and customer intelligence to deliver not only an improved customer experience but also to meet sales, energy efficiency and other program goals. In 2017, Exelon invested in a customer engagement platform that leverages energy data and customer intelligence to deliver improved customer satisfaction, increased energy efficiency program participation and reduced service costs. In this session, learn how Exelon’s Business Intelligence Data Analytics program has fostered engagement and achieved business results.

Speaker: Marcie Forster – Business Analyst, Baltimore Gas and Electric


Transformational Training

As the needs and expectations of customers continue to grow, how do utilities train employees to have a more customer-centric mindset that focuses on providing safe and reliable service to customers with excellence and empathy? Learn how Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas are transforming their employee training programs to improve the overall customer experience.

Speakers:
Luke Buzard – Director of Pipeline Safety & Operations Support, TECO Peoples Gas System
Jeanne L. Thompson – Director, Service Excellence and Operations Support, Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas System


Prepay: The Next Generation

Salt River Project’s M-Power program has evolved into North America’s largest electric prepay deployment. Enabled by the company’s deployment of second-generation smart meters, M-Power’s new token-free infrastructure will allow customers to control their accounts with a dedicated M-Power app while maintaining a real-time in-home display.

In this session, learn how changes to this already popular program will continue to keep customers satisfied as it promotes energy efficiency and helps the utility control operational costs.

Speaker: Yolanda France – Director of Customer Billing and Accounting, Salt River Project, (SRP)


Customer Threats – Employee Safety and Customer Experience

Employee safety remains a core industry value, yet many utilities report that threats and their seriousness are increasing. LG&E and KU has developed a process for capturing threat information and distributing it to impacted areas in a timely matter. The majority of customer threats originate in the contact centers and walk-in business offices; however, many of the more serious threats involve field employees at the customer’s premise. LG&E and KU will share how its Corporate Security, Customer Service, Field Operations and Customer Commitment departments collaborate when threats occur.

Speaker: Tim Melton – Manager Customer Commitment, Louisville Gas & Electric and Kentucky Utilities


PECO’s Easy-to-Use Mobile App Enhances the Customer Experience

PECO’s mobile application is one of the highest rated of utilities across the United States. The app’s easy-to-use features, such as the slide-to-pay feature, reduce the number of actions needed to pay and therefore contributing to a significant transaction completion rate. During this session, attendees will learn about the development of PECO’s mobile app and how it has enhanced the utility’s customer experience.

Speaker: Swee Shetty – Senior eChannel Program Manager, PECO


Helping Customers Help Their Utility: Oncor’s Photo Collection Tool

Americans send more than 6 billion text messages every day, many of them including photos of everything from cats and pizza to shoes, vacation destinations and – yes – even downed lines. In an effort to leverage texting to better respond in hazardous situations and enable dispatchers to make better, faster decisions, Oncor embarked on a journey in 2017 to develop a platform that allows customers to safely share digital images of damaged lines.

In this session, learn how Oncor is using this platform to improve the customer experience and more effectively utilize resources to improve response times.

Speakers:
Amanda Townsend – Director, Customer Service & Solutions, Oncor
Boyd Greene – Director of East Distribution Operations, Oncor


What’s Your Goal?  A Professional Theatre Performance for Residential Customer Engagement

We all know that to change customer behavior, new thinking is needed. Ward Eames, President and Founder of NTC, will present excerpts from What’s Your Goal, a Trickle Up™ program targeting utility customers with school-age children. The program teaches vital information about the environment, carbon footprints, the effects of energy usage, and how to raise your voice to make a change. Attendees will experience this 30-minute improvisational comedy show that is accompanied by print and digital DR and EE activities focused on measurable kWh savings through EE kit delivery to parents.

Speaker:
Ward Eames – President and Founder, NTC


Successful Tactics to Increase e-Bill Adoption

JEA, the eighth largest municipal utility in the United States, has 28% of its customer base enrolled in eBilling. During this session, attendees will learn how JEA continues to encourage customers to move to this faster, more secure billing and payment channel using methods that include offering sweepstakes, Amazon gift cards and other prizes.

Speaker:
Christopher Jackson – Manager of Billing Support Services, JEA


Leveraging External Customer Contact Data to Reduce Contact Center Costs, Increase IVR Containment and Improve the Customer Experience

With the onset of competitive utility provider options, customer satisfaction has become a critical point of differentiation. Utilities are challenged with balancing effective customer service while minimizing the need for live agent calls. Identifying inbound customers immediately, without customer verification, improves IVR automation and the customer experience. However, only 50% of callers can be identified when initially contacting the call center, and only half of those are successfully contained within the IVR. With every live agent transfer cost averaging $9.50, customer identification rates have become critical KPIs.

Attendees of this session will learn about:

  • The constantly changing nature of consumer data, and its impact on CRM records
  • The steps major utilities are taking to leverage third-party data to augment their CRM database
  • The key data management strategies that have substantially improved operational KPI metrics for major utilities

Speaker:
Chris Clark – Director of Fraud, Risk and Compliance, Neustar


Actionable Business Analytics: Utility Case Studies

Business analytics are only value added if they:

  • Provide a clear case for action
  • Enable action right from the business intelligence platform
  • Provide a feedback loop on actions that have been taken
  • Always present KPIs relative to targets and time

In this session, Peat Miletic, President and CEO of FinMetrix, Inc., will demonstrate how actionable analytics can be used to drive performance improvements in the majority of customer facing functions within a utility. Topics to be covered include customer experience, collections, call center optimization and marketing.

Speaker:
Peat Miletic – President and CEO, FinMetrix, Inc.


Best Practices Gold Billing and Payment Programs Award Winner

Reducing Costs and Improving Performance with Robotics Process Automation

In 2017, SCE’s Customer Service Operations Digital Labor team developed a strategy and implemented a digital workforce to supplement human resources in the utility’s billing, credit, collections and payments department. The team successfully staffed, trained, established and operationalized governance, quality assurance and a support/maintenance model for robotic process automation. Within a year’s time, the team implemented approximately 20 automated processes that run on machines without needing human control and achieved an approximate savings of the equivalent of 41 full-time employees across the department. Approximately one-third of the Revenue Services Organization’s total volume of work is now being completed by robots. Through this team’s demonstrated success, SCE is cultivating a culture to drive digital transformation across the company.

Speaker:
Karen Cheung – Senior Manager, Digital Labor and Work and Performance Management Team, Southern California Edison (SCE)


Best Practices Gold Program Marketing Award Winner

Effective DIY Communications for DIY Customers: Increasing Your Nest Activation Rate

When KCP&L realized that only 75% of customers participating in its Nest Rush Hour Rewards offering were activating their thermostat, the utility quickly pinpointed the problem: DIY customers were ordering and receiving their device, but weren’t activating it. To ensure the conversion of DIY customer orders to thermostat activations, KCP&L designed a seven-step campaign process to reach its targets multiple times to remind them of their role in the process. After 10 months of focused outreach that included email, outbound calls and direct mail, the activation rate had increased to 93%. In this session, learn how KCP&L identified a weak point in an existing campaign and used focused communications to meet its activation goal through a number of channels, tones and tactics.

Speaker:
Elena Johnston – Product Manager, Kansas City Power & Light


Best Practices Gold Self-Service Award Winner

The Mobile App of the Future: Identifying the Features Customers Want

With the redesign and launch of ComEd’s new mobile app earlier this year, the utility enhanced a popular customer channel to make it a more optimal experience for customers on the go. The ComEd app has a refreshed design that has been optimized for use on both smartphones and tablets. The new features include the following:

• Easily sign-in with your fingerprint
• Effortlessly pay your bill with one easy slide from the home screen
• View additional usage and program information
• Report an outage and check your outage status as a guest without logging in
• Access and manage your account as a business customer

With a completely new look and feel on top of these new features, ComEd has seen positive reviews from customers and a steady migration of users from the legacy app to the new app. Attend this session to learn how ComEd used research, focus groups and usability studies to identify the features that customers wanted in the new app and completed the project using an Agile project methodology process.

Speaker:
Andrea Wills – Senior Program Manager, ComEd


Best Practices Gold Communications Award Winner

Boosting Customer Awareness with Psychographic Data

In 2017, FortisBC revamped its Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) campaign, launching it as an educational campaign targeting Gen Xers and Millennials to extend the reach of the program and help customers better understand what RNG is and how is it produced. FortisBC’s in-house creative team identified psychographic characteristics in target markets to create concepts that resonated the most. The campaign surpassed all goals in driving traffic to the website, educating people on RNG and driving sign-ups. Attend this session to learn how FortisBC utilized industry research, focus groups and creative testing to extend its audience reach in new ways.

Speaker:
Bea Bains – FortisBC


Best Practices Gold Contact Center Award Winner

Leveraging Automation for More Efficient Customer Service

Facing growing overtime pay and staff inefficiencies, Hydro One initiated a Robotics Process Automation (RPA) journey in April 2016 by introducing bots to customer service operations with the goal of not only reducing costs but also increasing capacity to enhance the overall customer experience and the company’s digital footprint. The project required looking at the complete customer service operations structure, including front office, back office, collections and billing, while seeking automation opportunities, including:

• Repetitive tasks, such as ERP transactions
• Data extractions, validation and upload
• Reporting, data entry and analysis
• Document/email creation dispatch and archiving

Throughout 2017 and 2018, the efforts resulted in a significant turnaround for the customer service organization, including reduced overtime costs and meeting or exceeding service levels every month. Attend this session to learn how Hydro One implemented RPA in its true essence, using methodologies like Six Sigma to re-engineer processes and leverage automation tools.

Speaker:
Ryan Harris – Customer Care Manager, Hydro One Networks


Building a Digital Foundation to Enable Self-Service

In May 2017, Vectren completed a two-year digital transformation effort with the launch of a redesigned website built on the principles of improved self-service and a simplified customer experience. This presentation will provide a look at how goals and deliverables were defined, and how the effort has impacted contact center operations. We will also discuss opportunities for customer synergies and the importance of involving multiple business units so attempts to streamline the customer experience are not only supported, but understood. Join this session to follow Vectren’s journey and share in lessons learned during this project.

Speakers:
Ryan Vaal, Vectren Lead Marketing Specialist, Vectren
Brittany Rolley, Vectren Quality Assurance Supervisor, Vectren


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