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CS Week 2019 Executive Perspectives

Episode 5


“Alexa, Save Me $20 on My Electric Bill.” Aclara Exec Explains How.

Frank Brooks, Jr.VP, Product Management, Aclara

After a 20-year career in power generation, Aclara’s Frank Brooks recently moved to the customer engagement side of the utility industry. Listen as he describes the paradigm shift progressive utilities are making to mine their rich AMI data lodes and feed real-time data into platforms like Aclara’s Adaptive Consumer Engagement (ACE) to put helpful energy usage and conservation tips into the hands of consumers anytime. He forecasts that companies who have traditionally looked at AMI data from a utility-oriented lens for operational scheduling and regulatory compliance are now seeing opportunities to become trusted energy advisors in the burgeoning smart home market. Consumers have bought smart home devices and appliances for convenience, but utilities can extend those benefits to include automated comfortability and true cost savings.

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Episode 4


Intuitive, Flexible, Sustainable: Three Key Must-Be’s for GRU’s New CIS

William J. (Bill) ShepherdCCO, Gainesville Regional Utilities

With multiple customer information system replacements in the pipeline at Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), Chief Customer Officer Bill Shepherd is driving towards three strategic must-be’s with major projects. System intuitiveness, flexibility and sustainability must be embedded in its IVR system, its bill pay and presentment platform, its billing system and upcoming AMI initiatives. GRU’s customers expect local reliability as a core service offering, but they also want a multi-channel customer experience like global retailers offer. This can be challenging for a municipally owned utility where business as usual falls on the side of conservatism, enforced through layers of business case adoption and funding approval. Gain insights from Shepherd’s seasoned acumen and hear how he is managing the staff requirements for GRU’s system replacement initiatives..

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Episode 2


Partners: Austin Energy and Community Agencies Build Successful Customer Assistance Program

Gerardo (Jerry) Galvan, VP, Customer Care Services, Austin Energy

Since Austin was selected as Best Place to Live by U.S. News and World Reports, this central Texas city has experienced rapid growth, with population surging 30% in ten years. That kind of growth is enviable, but more homelessness and an eight-fold spike in low income and financially insecure customers have accompanied it. Austin Energy, with almost 500,000 customers, has responded with a comprehensive, multi-pronged approach. By partnering with 54 not-for-profit community agencies, this utility helps customers beyond intermittent bill assistance. Their program includes on-staff social workers, case management, monthly check-ins and education. Listen as Customer Care Services VP Jerry Galvan highlights Austin’s situation and solution, which was recently recognized as the 2019 winner of CS Week’s Expanding Excellence Award for Innovation in People & Process.

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Episode 3


Woke: TECO’s Customer Transformation Dawns Diverse Insights

Monica WhitingVP, Customer Experience, TECO Energy

With a quarter century of public power experience, Monica Whiting moved to TECO a couple years ago to lead its company-wide customer transformation initiatives. One of her first challenges involved how to effectively train and engage all the company’s employees. “We want to capture every employee’s heart and mind to make a difference,” she explained. Several experiences drove the “woke” realization that customers expect the same experience with the utility as they have with companies like Amazon and Google, by smartphone and on the go. This led to TECO’s Mobile First strategy. Hear how Whiting harvested ideas from disparate operations and shifted original designs to be more inclusive. Through multiple iterations and striving for three clicks or less, learn how TECO now has more than half its customers registered for and using its portal.

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Episode 1


Customer and People Strategies Are Linked at Southern Company Gas

Louise Scott, VP, Customer Experience, Southern Company Gas


What skill sets and aptitudes are progressive utilities trying to hire and retain in their employees? Viewers won’t be surprised by the answers prioritized by Southern Company Gas’s VP, Customer Experience Louise Scott, who identifies three core competencies, some being innate while others can certainly be acquired with time in the utilities culture or honed with experience from other industries. Scott shares how her utility solicits and acts upon voice of the employee, marrying it in fundamental ways with its voice of the customer initiatives. “Our mantra is: Communicate, communicate, communicate… We offer many channels, just like we do with our customers.” Hear how this Atlanta-based gas utility has linked its voices’ initiatives and is supporting them with technological foundations that enable its customer experience transformation.

Watch the Video below or listen to the Podcast Episode of Executive Perspectives.