PHOENIX, Ariz., May 22, 2002 — Measure-X, a firm that specializes in helping companies improve their customer service, is rolling out its expertise to electric utilities both small and large.
“Electric power companies have plenty to think about when it comes to the customer service they provide,” says David Saxby, president of Measure-X. “Deregulation of the power industry brings new competition. Good service can create customer loyalty and increase customer retention before or after competitors enter a utility company’s territory.
“To boost revenues, some utility companies have gone beyond providing electricity to also offer cable TV, cellular phone service, Internet access and high-speed data services. To protect and grow that revenue stream, utilities must back those new services with an effective sales team and stellar service that keeps customers happy.”
Measure-X helps improve customer service in four ways – initial measurement of service levels, employee training, employee recognition and ongoing measurement as a follow-up to determine if desired service levels are reached and maintained.
Measure-X gives utilities the ability to see their customer service through a customer’s eyes. Through customer-service evaluations, or mystery shops, calls are placed to customer service representatives to see how well a customer’s needs are met. Measure-X also surveys existing customers to determine why they do or do not return to conduct more business. “We measure the customer’s point of view, from their first impression down to the appreciation they receive,” Saxby says.
The initial measurement phase identifies areas in need of improvement. Then Measure-X customizes a training program for employees to help them improve their performance. “These are hands-on workshops with a learning system designed for adults to increase their retention and immediately apply the processes and skills they are taught,” Saxby says. “We can cover such areas as conflict resolution, understanding customer needs, how to make stronger first impressions, how to sell additional services and how to become an over-the-phone consultant to customers.”
Employee recognition programs reinforce improved performance and higher levels of service, Saxby says. “Utility companies spend millions of dollars on technology to automate their systems and become more efficient, but it’s their employees who interact with customers and sell the services,” Saxby notes. “For employees to buy into the idea of improved customer service and sales, they must know what’s in it for them.”
Measure-X employs techniques such as sending personalized letters home to the family or spouse to let them know what a great job the employee is doing. Recognition in a variety of forms, both public and private, is part of the key to success with employees.
In the last phase, Measure-X conducts ongoing measurement of customer service levels to determine if its actions have had an impact.
“If you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” Saxby says. “If utilities are to prepare for potential competition from deregulation or do a better job of providing existing and new services, they must look at new ways of measuring their success. What about the human touch? What about customer experience? We measure the things that are most important, and our feedback helps managers focus on those areas most in need of improvement. With training and incentives in place to motivate employees to modify behavior patterns, customer retention will go up and so will sales.”
For more information on Measure-X, visit its Web site at www.measure-x.com.