PECO’s Digital Start, Stop, and Move Enhanced via Data and Testing
I recently had the privilege of attending Chartwell’s virtual EMACS Customer Experience Conference, a premier educational and networking opportunity for customer experience leaders in the utility industry. The week was filled with sharp panel conversations, wisdom on the COVID-19 impact, and case studies of projects and initiatives that were home runs throughout the year. Yet, one case study session, in particular, caught my eye as a substantial value-add for customers.
PECO, Pennsylvania’s largest electric and natural gas utility, hosted a session detailing how the customer experience team enhanced their digital start/stop/move workflow by using data and testing. The team understands that moving is a stressful and chaotic process for customers – but, it doesn’t have to be. Without sharing PECO’s exact data, here’s an outline of the project and how the team streamlined moving for customers.
PECO wanted to increase the number of customers who start, stop, or move their service digitally instead of calling into the call center.
Upon studying the digital start/stop/move process, PECO realized that many customers who started the digital flow ultimately failed to complete the process.
Customers failed at the address lookup step.
Customers failed at the final submission step.
Customers were also frustrated by three core elements of the workflow:
They were required to provide a meter number. Many do not know their meter number and don’t know where to find it.
They couldn’t start and finish fully online.
Oftentimes, because they couldn’t finish the process fully online, customers were required to call anyway. Those customers needed to repeat their information over the phone, even though they already submitted it digitally.
Project & Improvements
The team determined that the best path forward was to dedicate full-time resources – both from the business and IT sides. The PECO leadership team grouped the chosen teammates in one physical space to work together in real-time and make quick decisions.
The team studied the data, mapped workflows, and ruthlessly prioritized the most impactful improvements. After much discussion, brainpower, and decision-making, the following final improvements launched:
Address selection was moved to the beginning of the workflow.
Fuzzy search technology was enabled in case a customer did not type their address correctly.
Live, in-line error messaging was added for as-you-go feedback.
Error messages for pending actions at a particular address were added. For example, customers would now know if another start or disconnect was pending at an address.
Enhanced identity verification was added earlier in the process so the customer didn’t have to complete most of the process, only to find out at the end that they needed to validate their identity with a Social Security number or driver’s license number.
Opt-ins for beneficial PECO programs were added to the workflow, including signup for e-billing and autopay preference settings.
The start service confirmation email was improved, including the ability to reschedule the start date directly from within the email – rescheduling was one of the top reasons customers called into the call center.
At the end of the workflow, clear and specific error messages were provided should a customer not be able to complete their start or stop fully online. For example, if an address has an outstanding balance, the customer will now know immediately and be provided with instructions on how to settle whatever the issue may be.
The PECO team measured success by full completions on digital channels, overall call volume impact, digital satisfaction, and enrollment in new preferences.
As each of the enhancements were released over the course of a year, the team saw constant improvement in each of the aforementioned four categories. The results were as follows for 12 months following the end of the project:
100,000 service orders were issued digitally
Approximately 60,000 calls were saved from the call center
30% less back-office transactions for start/stop/move
It’s no secret that fully-digital start/stop/move processes reduce operational call center costs. However, the true magic lies in making a fully-digital process a value-add for your customers. PECO’s thoughtfulness, testing velocity, and ultimate results prove that reducing costs and increasing customer satisfaction can happen simultaneously.
Updater’s moving app helps millions of movers start, stop, and move their utility service annually. To learn more about how we can help your utility implement a fully-digital mover experience, please schedule a call with us.