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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

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.

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

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: Michael Mendonca – Senior Director, Customer Services, 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

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.

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

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

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, Rob Krugman, Chief Digital Officer at 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.

Rob Krugman – Chief Digital Officer, Broadridge

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.

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

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.

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

Mitchell Young — Executive Director of Identity Solutions, Neustar



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