In the Media

Customer Service in the Spotlight

By Eric Krell, Electric Perspectives

The object is customer satisfaction, and electric companies are finding new ways to succeed.

Good customer service knows no boundaries. That old saw has assumed new, and newly important, meaning as the utility industry enters an era defined by rising prices, more frequent rate cases,and growing technological capabilities. Many shareholder-owned electric companies are knocking down the walls that previously separated their customer-care functions. A more integrated approach to customer service, when properly executed and supported with the right tools and sufficient training, already is delivering customer service improvements — and, in many cases, efficiency gains.

“I don’t think that providing great service means you have to be a high-cost company,” notes Penni McLean-Conner, NSTAR’s vice president of customer care and author of Customer Service: Utility Style—Proven Strategies for Improving Customer Service and Reducing Customer Care Costs (PennWellBooks, 2006). “The very best utilities are doing both.”

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