Duquesne Light, which provides electricity to a half million customers in southeastern Pennsylvania, operates a Customer Service and Collections Call Center in Pittsburgh. As part of an initiative to improve the service it was providing its customers, Duquesne selected PowerHouse to perform an Operational Assessment of its Call Center. The desired outcome was a set of recommendations for realigning its service and collection operations to meet the needs of the business. During the engagement, PowerHouse identified a number of organizational and operational improvements in such areas as workforce management, quality assurance, training, systems management, and organizational structure.
KeySpan Energy, a large gas and electric utility serving customers in New York and New England, engaged PowerHouse to assist in developing a telecommunications infrastructure strategy for its Call Centers. We assisted KeySpan to define and develop a means for upgrading their four very disparate Call Centers into a single platform utilizing VoIP for connectivity between all four locations. The result was the creation of a virtual Call Center.
Pacific Gas and Electric
Pacific Gas and Electric operated a Customer Support Call Center that operated on out-of-date PBX technology. PowerHouse collaborated with the Customer Support team to develop system design and specifications to upgrade the existing ACD. Design specifications were incorporated into an RFP and submitted to appropriate vendors. The project culminated with a recommendation to replace existing Call Center technology with a Siemens Hicom 300 Model 80 PBX with Resume Routing ACD functionality.
United Illuminating Company
United Illuminating Company (UI) is a New Haven-based regional electric distribution company established in 1899. UI purchases, transmits, distributes, and sells electricity and related services to more than 324,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers in the Greater New Haven, CT and Bridgeport, CT areas. UI’s Call Center ACD Phone Switch and IVR were nearing end-of-life. It was the opportune time to evaluate the entire Call Center technology platform and available marketplace options for retaining, upgrading, or replacement. The goal was to improve Call Center operations and enhance the Customer Experience by improving the Center’s technical capabilities. UI recognized the need for external consulting expertise to fully assess the current situation, identify opportunities, and assist in selecting the right technology to support future business goals. PowerHouse was selected based on our Call Center and Technology expertise as well as prior work with utility clients of varying sizes and needs. Our consultants provided independent and unbiased expertise to support the strategic technology planning to meet the Call Center’s immediate, near-term, mid-term, and long-term business goals. We also assisted with the decision process for new and/or upgraded technology and managed the RFP process. The project consisted of four phases: Project Planning and Requirements Analysis; Current State Assessment and Solution Alternatives; RFP Creation, Response Management, and Vendor Selection; and Development of Statement of Work and Business Case. As follow-on, PowerHouse was engaged to manage and monitor the implementation of the newly selected Call Center technology systems. The result of our initiatives was the appropriate selection of technology via a systematic, unbiased, value-based, and efficiently managed process.
Unitil is a public utility holding company that safely and reliably delivers natural gas and electricity throughout northern New England. As another aspect of a continued relationship with Unitil, PowerHouse was asked to conduct an independent assessment of the Unitil Customer Operations department. The department consisted of three functions located within a single location: Customer Service, Credit and Collections, and Billing. Unitil business leaders sought to develop a new vision for the Customer Experience and to raise Customer Service to a more visible and strategic level. The project sought to examine the utilization of technology and level of operating efficiency to assure the timely, efficient, and humane handling of customers. PowerHouse performed data gathering activities both within the department and with customer-facing teams. The assessment involved several focus areas that included organizational structure, branding and communication, call distribution and handling, management practices, performance and metrics, staff scheduling, technology and reporting, operational processes, hiring, training, and quality. As part of the management report, PowerHouse crafted a detailed plan to migrate from the current state to a transformed Customer Service organization that embodied the desired Customer Experience, optimized the use of technology, and streamlined overall business processes.