Jul 25, 2016
Customers today expect to have instant access to information, particularly in times of crisis. They also expect to receive that information, as well as updates, directly, as soon as a problem such as an interruption in utility service occurs. Most importantly, customers don’t want to have to gather that information on their own by accessing social media or reaching out to the utility company directly, particularly during severe weather events or power outages.
The challenge for a utility company then becomes effectively and efficiently updating thousands of customers on an event, such as a service outage or impending severe weather. The answer comes in the form of cloud-based call center software with outbound calling features that can send thousands of broadcast messages a minute to a customer database, among other key capabilities.
For many utility companies, TCN’s award-winning call center technology offers industry-leading features that can help them actively anticipate their customers’ needs, enhance their businesses’ capabilities and improve customer communications across the board.
Read on for more details on TCN’s outbound features and tools and how one utility company was able to maintain communications with its customers during an extended weather-induced service interruption.
Thousands of Calls Per Minute
New Jersey residents know all too well the importance of having a communication system that continues to perform even in the worst conditions. As Hurricane Sandy hit the Mid-Atlantic states in 2012, 8.7 million people found themselves without power or water, some for more than a week. During this crisis, residents needed a reliable means to communicate with local utility companies to get updates on the status of power outages. However, during this crisis, many such companies faced strong criticism from customers who felt under-serviced by their contractors and were upset by the lack of updates and general information.
One utility company, however, was able to keep thousands of customers up-to-date regarding power status and repair updates while it worked to restore power to their homes. Using TCN’s cloud-based call center software, the company made more than 11 million calls a day, which dramatically impacted its customers during Hurricane Sandy.
TCN’s unique features enable it to make 1.3 million calls per hour at prime call times to provide customers with real-time updates. Leveraging the power of the cloud, TCN can offer unsurpassed speed and capability when deploying call campaigns that provide mass updates for large customer list segments. This timely, proactive outreach streamlined communications between the utility and its customer base, prevented customers from seeking updates on their own and helped eliminate confusion.
Email and SMS Connect
The more time a customer is forced to sit in the dark and search online for answers or put on hold to wait the phone, the more likely they are to end up frustrated and have a bad experience with a utility company.
These situations can easily be avoided with a cloud-based call center solution. With TCN, customers can even choose their contact preferences, which gives them control over when and how they receive communications. Utility companies are more likely to get a response from customers if they know the best times and methods to contact them.
Customers also appreciate the ability to choose from emails, texts, a call or any combination of these modes they prefer. In addition, if a customer has to leave their house due to severe weather or power outages – as many did during Hurricane Sandy – they can still receive text updates or calls on their mobile phones and be notified when the power is back up and running so they can return home.
Call List Segmentation
TCN enables clients to segment their call lists according to their preferred criteria. You can contact customers of a certain age, geographic region, particular purchasing history—the system makes it easy for you to target your calls. A utility company can even create a customized list of customers in areas affected by a severe weather event or planned outage, for example, and generate a campaign designed to contact them and notify them of the event and any subsequent updates.
TCN Notify, TCN’s event notification system, allows you to customize calls with the recipient’s name and other specific information, such as an appointment date or an offer tied to demographic data or purchase history.
If your company wants to reach contacts in a particular geographic area with a specific service notification, offer or warning, you can easily select the desired areas on a map, and the TCN Notify system will instantly generate a customized call list for you. This feature was highly utilized during the Hurricane Sandy outages and service updates.
When calling customers by phone, your company can instantly determine which calls have been answered by an actual person and which have been answered by machines. TCN’s solution will continue to attempt to contact residents who have not been reached as often as desired.
Polling and Surveying
Once the power is back on, your battle is only partly over. Every organization wants to continually improve operations, and the key to doing so is having tools in place that enable customers to provide immediate feedback and opinions. Utility clients can easily accomplish this with TCN’s contact center technology. Confirmation keys make it easy for call recipients to respond, and real-time reporting calculates results instantly.
Customers today don’t want to wonder why their power is out, why the water is discontinued and when either will be restored. They want instant access and delivery of important information and updates of their power status, especially during severe weather events.
TCN understands this and believes that proactive communication builds customer satisfaction. Communicating quickly, effectively and accurately during a weather or crisis event requires a system with the speed and capacity to deliver a message to thousands within minutes. We want to help utility companies stay ahead of the curve and enable them to contact thousands of customers with information, updates and opportunities to access additional information simply and directly.
We’ve developed a case study on how our leading call center cloud technology was used during Hurricane Sandy and other mass power outages across the country. It provides additional details on specific TCN cloud-based call center features and capabilities that have proven invaluable for many utility companies as they streamlined customer communications, improved customer satisfaction and better maintained communications across their customer lists during severe weather or extended outages.
Download the full case study Forging Connectivity Under the Worst Conditions to learn how TCN can enhance your business’s capabilities during severe weather events or utility outages.
Click or call today to schedule a free demo to let us help your business spread the word.
About the Author: Bob Myers
Bob Myers is Senior Sales Executive at TCN. His expertise lies in call center consulting, IVR technology, TCPA regulations, sales, sales development and solutions consulting. Coming from the public sector, Bob has also been able to specialize and develop custom notification, including SMS, processes for the public utilities market.