by Paolo Lenotti, Marketing
AGENT511 recently launched a webinar series where we invite partners and customers to convey new thoughts and ideas for customer engagement. The following article mentions the highlights of our first talk featuring a case study on PECO.
PECO is an energy company that is part of Exelon Corporation, which has partnered with AGENT511 since 2009. It is the largest electric and natural gas utility in Pennsylvania, serving approximately 2 million customers in total.
About the speakers:
Rob Busa – Rob is the Senior e-Channel Program Manager at PECO, and oversees all customers notifications.
Kurt Sontag – Kurt is the PECO eChannel Manager who deals with the technicalities involved in IVR, preference center implementation, and web and mobile communications.
So, let’s see what the PECO representatives have to say about their experience using AGENT511’s customer engagement solutions.
[Jay] What was the motivation that drove PECO to look at the preference center and other new ways and technologies to drive customer experience?
[Rob] We wanted to better communicate with our customers. I like to use Amazon as an example. They do a great job of communicating their deliveries – when it’s going to arrive, how far it is etc. We wanted to do the same with our customers. We wanted to communicate easily with them and, more importantly, provide accurate messaging and improve our customer experience, especially during storms.
[Kurt] One of the key aspects was to head off customers calling. If we can provide them information sooner and keep them informed on what’s happening in different scenarios, it would help cut down the load on the call center. The big benefit we saw with the preference center was that customers could choose from text, email etc. The foresight was that if we communicate with our clients with accurate information, they won’t call. They already have it when they need it.
[Rob] The billing of payments and reminders were also a big driver to reduce calls in the call center.
[Jay] You touched on the range of programs for outage and billing. What other types of programs driven for load shedding or usage-based alert have you seen as part of your commitment to your AMI deployment?
[Kurt] One example would be our curtailment program.
[Rob] AGENT511 did a great job of setting up a portal for large gas customers so we can reach out to them, especially during the winter months, about their gas consumption.
[Kurt] The system has load curtailment on the gas side that notifies interruptible customers when to cut down their consumption and for how long. The preference center allows customers to choose their desired method for receiving notifications. This is mostly for the large gas customers, but we are looking at introducing electric demand-side programs for residential customers as well.
[Jay] Can you expand on the type of teams and groups you have included, and what was the overarching approach for deployment of the preference center?
[Rob] It required company-wide involvement. The communications department, marketing department, care center, the legal and operation teams were involved. We even pulled in field personnel, and of course, the e-channels group, too.
[Kurt] It took a lot of effort from finding the funding to implementation. It’s never fun to go through all the testing, but AGENT511 was the perfect partner to work with on that.
[Jay] How do you capture enrollments and get customers excited about some of these opportunities to interact with PECO?
[Rob] When we first deployed, we had a huge marketing campaign. We had billboards and TV ads. In 2016, we did a big push on paperless billing. But believe it or not, it’s the weather that helps drive enrollments the most.
Jay: Here is some data from your company. Can you give some background on enrollments increase, how it occurred, and in which programs?
[Jay] Here is some data from your company. Can you give some background on enrollments increase, how it occurred, and in which programs?
[Kurt] Durin the last storms we had in March 2018, Riley and Quinn, there was a massive increase in the number of enrollments – over 100,000 in less than two weeks. We sent out a tremendous amount of notifications, and AGENT511 did a terrific job of handling it all flawlessly with almost no customer complaints.
[Jay] I believe there’s something interesting you saw with respect to un-enrollments as well. As a lesson learned, can you share some of the findings that drive the key improvements now?
[Rob] With every message we send out to our customers, we give them the option to opt out of the service by texting ‘STOP.’ I guess every company has to do that. This un-enrolls them from all the programs.
During the storm, we did have a tremendous amount of enrollments, but we also saw a lot of un-enrollments. Our marketing panel found that the message was misunderstood. Customers thought that they had to text STOP once they got their power back on. So, to correct that, AGENT511 came up with the Pause-and-Resume Program.
For example, if a customer’s in LA and doesn’t care about outage back home, they can text ‘PAUSE.’ If they forget to resume afterward, the service automatically resumes after 72 hours. This gives customers the power to opt out of outage notifications for any time period that they want.
[Jay] Could you give our audience an idea of the Initial Outage Notification (ION) Program that we kicked off together last year?
[Rob] The ION Program gives the customers information in real-time. As soon as the AMI meter goes off and they are out of power, we send them a notification immediately – like we’re working on it and will get the power back on shortly.
This reduces calls in the call center because we reach out to our customers before they reach out to us. Otherwise, it would take us about 30 minutes after the meter goes off to go through the system, generate ETR, and then send it to the customer. Now, it goes out almost instantly. It’s a huge benefit to our customers.
To learn more about winning over customers through personalized communications, you can view the complete recording of AGENT511’s webinar featuring a case study on PECO. Follow the link here.