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CS Week 2017 Executive Perspectives

Executive Perspective | Angela Guillory | CS Week


‘Walk the Talk:’ SRP’s Intentional Steps to Customer Satisfaction

Mike Lowe, Deputy General Manager & Chief Customer Executive, Salt River Project

What does it take for a utility to be consistently ranked first in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction index? This respected executive explains SRP’s laser focus on its large base of power and water customers. With a lengthy background in financial operations, IT application development and customer service, Lowe 'walks the talk,' sharing his utility’s successful long-term strategy while exploring their ongoing efforts to constantly improve the customer experience like:

  • Ensuring customer-facing processes are easy and pleasant by regularly gathering and assimilating verbatim and data research insights;
  • Redoubling efforts to encourage customers to participate in Time of Use tariffs, especially since they represent a win/win solution to both lower customer bills and reduce SRP’s per customer cost;
  • Providing more outage and billing information via text and emails upon realizing that overcommunicating with customers might be a good objective;
  • Hiring for personality and “looking for a smile in the voice;” and
  • Taking risks other utilities have shied away from, which has enabled SRP to retain its ‘Number One’ honor for years.

Executive Perspective | Angela Guillory | CS Week



Turning Pain Points into Opportunities: Duke Energy’s Billing/Payment Exception Management

Jared Lawrence, Vice President, Revenue ServicesDuke Energy

His is a real-life chicken and egg story. Lawrence discusses the conundrum of what comes first in his work world… handling heavy exception volumes, collaboratively addressing process failures across multiple operations or responding to high customer call center volume? Hear from this executive who has held a wide range of roles, from strategic to commercial, regulatory, developmental and operational; all of which have provided broad exposure to operational interconnectivity. Learn how Lawrence’s team responsible for billing, collecting payments and managing A/R:

  • Tracks and remedies 45 different root causes of billing exceptions;
  • Deals with 2.5 million pieces of non-conforming, “white mail” annually; and
  • Identifies customer pain points and reorients those issues so every operation, from meter reading to the call center, shares the solutions.

Executive Perspective | Angela Guillory | CS Week



Changing the Tires While Driving: Liberty Utilities’ Journey to Centralize and Localize

Katy Cook, Director, Customer Experience Strategy, Liberty Utilities

Scanning the road ahead, this utility executive labels herself a “customer advocate forever.” She continually asks, “What do we want to be when we grow up? What is the roadmap we will follow? What stepping stones are we taking to get there?” Because of seven acquisitions completed in the past five years, Liberty Utilities has grown quickly to a 780,000+ customer, multi-state company on a journey that requires important decisions, including how to:

  • Remain focused on the four things all customers want, regardless of the industry;
  • Centralize technology solutions for local deployment by employees who know their customers and their values like friends and family;
  • Build consistency and reliability into the delivery of core products and services while applying an individualized touch with customer-facing actions whether performed digitally, by phone or live at walk-in centers; and
  • Shift control to the customer by offering multi-channel communication tools while steadfastly being a dependable, consistent and reliable partner.

Executive Perspective | Angela Guillory | CS Week



Awesomeness Multiplied: Eversource Energy’s Steps to Employee Engagement

Jessica Brahaney-Cain, VP, Customer Operations, Eversource Energy

With twenty-two years invested in utility services, Brahaney-Cain knows a thing or two about engaging employees. “It’s the most important thing that I can personally get right,” says this Eversource executive, who has implemented a culture where ideas are welcomed, solutions are valued, opinions are respected even if recommendations are not advanced, and feedback to close communication loops is assured. Recognizing the deep relationships, sometimes spanning decades, shared among her 1,300 employees in this amalgamated utility, Brahaney-Cain:

  • Nourishes and cultivates that family feeling where employees want to come to work; 
  • Actively looks for innovative ways to build a respectful, iteratively structured program of employee rewards and recognition; and
  • Finds “awesomeness” in everyday interactions, amplifying those examples across multiple locations to build trust, strengthen morale and ensure down-to-earth authenticity.

Executive Perspective | Angela Guillory | CS Week



Aligning Incentives: Technology Investments That Increase Capitalization and Reduce Costs

Andrew Jornod, CEO, VertexOne

Industry change is happening today faster than ever. Millennials are driving technology must-haves in the customer service space like multi-channel communications that are being eagerly adopted by other generations. This chief executive officer’s company has built VertexOne, a cloud-based platform, focused on delivering customer information systems that allow utilities to keep up with the pace. In this conversation, hear how:

  • Utilities are reducing costs and business risks associated with CIS implementations by 40 – 60%, instead driving cash into asset investment and ongoing O&M;
  • Pre-built meter-to-cash processes ensure customers migrate to the platform and adopt proven processes used by mid-size to top-tier utilities instead of demanding customization that reintroduces risk, cost and obsolescence; and
  • VertexOne is using its cloud-based platform to partner with utilities beyond system implementation for an extended product and services relationship that provides system upgrades, ongoing support and maintenance and ensures business agility for new service offerings.