Preferred Communication Channels for Enhancing Customer Engagement
December 6-7, 2016
New Orleans, LA

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Overview

Major advances in technology, combined with advances in the ease of access and information-sharing, have created a consumer whose expectations of customer service has increased dramatically. Add to that the rapidly growing use of mobile devices across all customer segments, which further promotes the use of mobile communications as an important avenue to help meet utility customer needs and expectations. Further, research has shown that proactive and timely communications with customers is critical to customer satisfaction.

Utilities are now recognizing that they need to break down application and communication channel silos in order to consolidate the customer experience.  Allowing customers to select which communication they want to receive, when they receive it, how often they receive it, and through which communication channel (e.g., text message, email or telephone) is a top priority. In order to achieve this, substantial coordination is necessary.  And managing details such as customer contact information, preferred communication channels, and alert timing can be tricky. Nonetheless, that’s why utilities are looking to engagement tools that put customers in control thereby improving customer satisfaction.  In response, many are implementing customer preference management systems and stepping up organizational elements such as cross-marketing campaigns, maintaining regulatory compliance and customer engagement.

At this conference, utility and industry professionals will provide guidance to those considering preference systems by sharing their innovative strategies for enlisting technology to improve customer satisfaction. Attendees will take away additional knowledge and resources required to implement effective solutions in order to accommodate the customer of today and the future.

Learning Outcomes

  • Critique the necessary key strategy elements necessary to build a foundation for dramatic communications improvement
  • Explain how to improve customer satisfaction while reducing operating expenses by reducing incoming service load
  • Recognize the necessary components of a good customer experience
  • Discuss how to build a strong business case in order to bring a holistic omni-channel experience to your customers
  • Explore how utilities are using mobile technologies
  • Explain how to improve communications by making incremental improvements to existing processes or technology
  • Discuss how to establish open lines of communication throughout the organization

Credits

AP_Logo

EUCI has been accredited as an Authorized Provider by the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).  In obtaining this accreditation, EUCI has demonstrated that it  complies with the ANSI/IACET Standard which is recognized internationally as a standard of good practice. As a result of their Authorized Provider status, EUCI is authorized to offer IACET CEUs for its programs that qualify under the ANSI/IACET Standard.

EUCI is authorized by IACET to offer 1.0 CEUs for this event.

Requirements for Successful Completion of Program

Participants must sign in/out each day and be in attendance for the entirety of the conference to be eligible for continuing education credit.

Instructional Methods

Case Studies, Panel Discussions and PowerPoint presentations will be used.

Agenda

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. :: Registration

1:00 – 1:15 p.m. :: Opening Remarks

1:15 – 1:30 p.m. :: Welcome Address from Entergy

On behalf of Entergy, a FORTUNE 500 company and one of the nation’s largest utilities,

Senior Manager of Utility Communications  Sandy Alstadt, will welcome her power industry colleagues to the “the big easy”. Ms. Alstadt will give her perspective on what is necessary to continue to improve customer communications in today’s rapidly changing world.

Sandy Alstadt, Senior Manager Utility Communications, Entergy

1:30 – 2:15 p.m. :: How California Water Group Won the JD Power Award for Best Customer Service in the West

California Water Group (CalWater) has taken a proactive approach with customer engagement by implementing a multi-year initiative to leverage technology and customer-centricity.  This has allowed CalWater to make a step-level shift from traditional, excellent customer service at the transactional level to innovative, cross-channel “total customer experience.”  This session will talk about how the project has resulted in improved customer satisfaction, stronger customer relationships, reduced servicing costs, and continued strong financial performance at the corporate level. It will also discuss how these customer experience accomplishments were achieved while also taking costs out of the operations and improving the bottom line.  Finally, the discussion will examine how the project is benefitting the utility’s public relations image by helping CalWater collaborate with customers to achieve the mandated water reduction requirements now in place in the drought-ridden state of California.

Yvonne Nomizu, Managing Director, Pacific Consulting Group

2:15 – 3:15 p.m. :: Enabling Customers to Customize their Own Experiences

In the modern customer service landscape, customers have more options and more choices than ever before.  It is now the norm for them to tailor experiences to themselves as individuals through selecting preferences or through intelligent customized content, making their service experience personal, relevant and timely.  The utilities industry has a significant opportunity to catch up to the market and make consumption of energy a personal experience.  Whether it be…

  • Communications (transactional – like bill preferences, service appointments, etc.)
  • Disruptions (planned or unplanned outages)
  • Energy insights (consumption changes, high bill alerts, etc.)
  •       Local activities (involving capital projects, construction or other community level     activities)

…customer preferences are at the core of how a utility and its customers can connect in a positive way.  By taking advantage of customer choice, utilities have the opportunity to offer high customer satisfaction and ultimately save on operating expenses by reducing incoming service load.

Greg Stanway, Manager Customer Strategy & Projects, BC Hydro

3:15 – 3:30 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

3:30 – 5:00 p.m. :: Enabling a Digital Customer: A Vendor Panel Discussion

The digital customer experience at utilities requires that integration, mobile data, business process and contact centers are all key factors for improved customer engagement. In this segment, utility vendors discuss how customer preference systems have changed or been integrated with other systems at utilities to help enable better communications and an improved customer experience.

Rob Gilpin, Regional Sales Director, KUBRA

Jay Malin, Founder and Managing Director, AGENT511

Chris Clark, Director of Risk and Compliance, Neustar

5:00 – 6:00 p.m. :: Networking Reception


Wednesday, December 7, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 9:15 a.m. :: Transforming the Customer Experience for the New Energy Consumer

The rapid advancement in smart technologies and customer expectations is shaping the future for the new digitally-engaged energy consumer. With the support of Jim Hedges and Pat Ricks, both leading Entergy’s Customer Experience effort, Entergy launched a new Digital Customer Roadmap with a bold vision to meet these evolving customer needs. In this presentation, Jim and Pat will share the steps the utility is taking to design a future customer experience that will increase engagement and satisfaction while driving business value and cost savings. They will discuss the drivers that are making this change happen in technology as well as people, policy and process challenges Entergy is facing to deliver on this customer-centric strategy. They will also share an inspirational view of what Entergy, and the industry at large, may look like as it becomes more innovative and agile to support the new energy ecosystem of the future.

Pat Ricks, Senior Manager Customer Solutions, Entergy

Jim Hedges, Regional Customer Service Manager, Entergy

9:15 – 10:00 a.m. :: People: A Utilities’ Most Powerful Tool for Customer Engagement

Utilities are installing technology that streamlines processes, automates functions and engages customers. Technology certainly is part of the answer to the question, “How does the utility better engage customers?” But an over-reliance on technology risks overlooking a utility’s powerful, no-cost, already installed customer-engagement resource — its people. Rooftop solar advocates used people power to help win the early phase of the debate over net metering. Properly mobilized, a utility’s human resources — employees and retirees — can be its indispensable tool to engaging customers.

John Egan, President, Egan Energy Communications, Inc.

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. :: Morning Break

10:15 – 11:00 a.m. :: Building the Customer Preference Center at American Electric Power (AEP)

Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?  Sometimes, the effort to address a specific challenge opens up the solution to a broader mission.  That’s what happened in 2015 when AEP launched an initiative to upgrade its approach re: outage and billing alerts.  In the process of developing the alerts system, AEP user experience strategist Eric Davis and his team innovated a customer communications preference center.  Now the utility is embarking on a multi-year journey to expand the preference center to include more alerts through expanded channels, email newsletters, billing preferences, and possibly even rate plan preferences. This presentation will show current offerings and mockups of the future vision, and will discuss the challenges of wayfinding through a complex assortment of vendors, channels, and operating company interests.

Eric J. Davis, Principal User Experience Consultant, AEP

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. :: Bill Redesign in an Omni-Channel World

The monthly bill remains the number one channel of interaction between a utility and its customer.  How should a utility re-design a bill in today’s always-on/always-connected world of personalization, preferences and multiple channels? In this session, the following aspects of this topic will be discussed:

  • The CX framework required to redesign a utility bill in a digital world
  • Two case studies from recent utility bill re-designs
  • Connecting the paper bill with personalization, preferences and omni-channel

Dennis Crumb, President, optimalCX solutions, LLC.

Chris Bond, Senior Consultant, User Experience, optimalCX solutions, LLC.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m. :: Group Luncheon

1:00 – 1:45 p.m. :: Oncor’s Multi-Channel Strategy

The decision to move forward and implement a customer preference system represents a critical decision for the future. There are many factors to consider before moving forward including financial factors, but also important customer issues. This session will provide an overview of various forms of communication that are positioning Oncor for the future including:

  • Outage reporting tools
  • Customer alerts
  • Planned outages notification
  • Energy efficiency curtailment
  • Proactive outbound communications

Stan McKee, Senior Manager – Customer Relations, Oncor

1:45 – 2:30 p.m. :: Sowing the Seeds of Tomorrow’s Engagement through Brand Publishing

Utility customers are hungry for information of all types, but they don’t get it all from one place:

  • Weather? There’s an app for that
  • Sports and Politics? Favorite blogs
  • General news? Facebook feeds
  • Lifestyle? Fitness? Specialty sites

So if customers are already choosing from sources they trust, why not be one of those trusted sources? Alabama Power has gone beyond being a “source” just for power outages, safety, and energy efficiency; it has become a go-to resource for information on industry, the economy, innovation and business development. And in doing so, it’s Alabama NewsCenter has become a new touchpoint for customers and influencers. In this session, attendees will learn:

  • What is brand publishing?
  • How to define a utility’s niches
  • Partnerships for content
  • Establishing smart goals

Ike Pigott, Communications Strategist, Alabama Power

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. :: Afternoon Break

2:45 – 3:30 p.m. :: A Powerful Pair – Omni-Channel Strategy and Journey Mapping

First class customer support in the omni-channel era means providing utility customers with a seamless and integrated experience regardless of channel they use to interact with their power company.  Yet, in many respects utilities are still thought to be far behind other industries in focusing on the omni-channel experience.  In this session, E Source will help utilities develop an approach to bringing a holistic omni-channel experience to their customers with a strong business case as to its importance.   Highlights from an industry-wide research into customer and utility perceptions of omni-channel experiences will be presented, and tips offered on how to address gaps in omni-channel strategies through journey mapping.  Using these examples, utilities will be on the way to developing their own strategic and cohesive omni-channel experience.

Shawn Silzer, Senior Manager, E Source

3:30 – 4:30 p.m. :: Utility Panel Discussion

Throughout North America, many utilities are overhauling their communications systems as a result of customer’s expectations for receiving the information they want to receive and how they want it in real time. In this roundtable discussion, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss successes and challenges within their departments. This session also provides the opportunity to brainstorm new ideas to develop new customer initiatives. Utility panelists will share their best practices and what changes they have either implemented or will be implementing to their communications programs.

Moderator: John Egan, President, Egan Energy Communications, Inc.

Panelists:

Jim Hedges, Regional Customer Service Manager, Entergy

Ike Pigott, Communications Strategist, Alabama Power

Stan McKee, Senior Manager – Customer Relations, Oncor

Greg Stanway, Manager Customer Strategy & Projects, BC Hydro

4:30 p.m. :: Conference Adjourns

Workshop

Auto Contact Channels: Avoiding High-Dollar Consequences for Utilities

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

8:00 – 8:30 a.m. :: Continental Breakfast

8:30 – 11:45 a.m.  :: Workshop Timing

Overview

Similar to other industries (banking, healthcare, etc.), the energy industry views automated telephone calls and text messages as a current means of communication for a variety of reasons, such as notifying customers of energy-saving programs, unpaid balances, alternative billing arrangements or unplanned service outages. However, before utilizing automated calls or text messages, utilities need to be cognizant of the laws and regulations controlling their use.

For example, the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) TCPA rules impose significant restrictions on automated calls and text messages, including those sent by utilities. With high-dollar consequences and unique challenges for the energy industry, utilities need to have strong compliance procedures in place for communicating with customers. Even a seemingly innocuous and well-intentioned text message can have very expensive ramifications.

This workshop will provide valuable information to ensure that a utility plan is properly addressing prospective compliance issues.  It will discuss common mistakes utilities make by not having a proper compliance plans in place and how to correct them. For those utilities that are just starting implementation or are further down the road, the workshop will provide the opportunity for attendees to learn key compliance tools and operational practices to avert multi-million dollar TCPA lawsuits.

Learning Outcomes

  • Review what utilities need to know and implement in order to be TCPA compliant
  • Discuss programs and processes that enable utilities to avoid lawsuits
  • Explain details about the 2015 FCC TCPA decision and the recent utility sector ruling
  • Discuss consent management, verifying phone ownership, the FCC’s risk mitigation suggestions and additional factors that utilities need to consider

Agenda

  1. Defining a Continuity Philosophy and Strategy
  2. Applicable Techniques and Logistics Support from a Variety of Perspectives
  3. Potential Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them
  4. Keeping the Business Running

Instructors

Mark W. Brennan, Partner, Hogan Lovells US, LLP

Clients across industry sectors seek Mark Brennan’s practical advice on cutting-edge communications and privacy issues. An experienced advisor, Mr. Brennan is as comfortable assisting clients on FCC and FTC policy and enforcement as he is providing actionable compliance strategies to operations teams. He is most well-known for obtaining significant victories for clients on Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) issues.

In addition to his TCPA and telemarketing experience, Mr. Brennan helps clients on other privacy and data security matters, including Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, the FCC’s Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) rules, CAN-SPAM, the Video Privacy Protection Act, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), state data breach statutes, and more. He also regularly counsels clients on issues relating to mobile marketing, location-based services, and online behavioral advertising.

Chris Clark, Director of Risk and Compliance, Neustar

Chris Clark has served as the Director of Risk and Compliance at Neustar for over six years.  For the last four years, he has helped deploy Neustar’s unique TCPA solutions to the Collections and Financial Services industries.  In this role, Mr. Clark and his team are responsible for launching and managing partnerships with dozens of banks, utilities, healthcare companies and collection agencies to develop risk mitigation and operational efficiency strategies within their organizations. He has a BA in Psychology from the Virginia Military Institute

Rob Gilpin, National Sales Executive, KUBRA

Rob Gilpin is a Sales Executive with KUBRA, which is a provider of customer experience management solutions to some of the largest utility, insurance and government entities across North America. He has over 30 years of consulting and sales experience in the fields of voice and data communications. For the past 10 years, Mr. Gilpin has developed self-service communication solutions for more than 80 utilities incorporating voice, text, email, and mobile platforms. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University

Speakers

Sandy Alstadt, Senior Manager Utility Communications, Entergy

Chris Bond, Senior Consultant, User Experience, optimalCX solutions, LLC.

Chris Clark, Director of Risk and Compliance, Neustar

Dennis Crumb, President, optimalCX solutions, LLC.

Eric J. Davis, Principal User Experience Consultant, AEP

John Egan, President, Egan Energy Communications, Inc.

Rob Gilpin, Regional Sales Director, KUBRA

Jim Hedges, Regional Customer Service Manager, Entergy

Shawn Silzer, Senior Manager, E Source

Stan McKee, Senior Manager – Customer Relations, Oncor

Jay Malin, Founder and Managing Director, AGENT511

Yvonne Nomizu, Managing Director, Pacific Consulting Group

Ike Pigott, Communications Strategist, Alabama Power

Pat Ricks, Senior Manager Customer Solutions, Entergy

Greg Stanway, Manager Customer Strategy & Projects, BC Hydro

Location

Hyatt Regency New Orleans
601 Loyola Ave
New Orleans, LA 70113

To reserve your room, please call 1-504-561-1234 or book online here.
Please indicate that you are with the EUCI group to receive the group rate.

Room Rate:

The room rate is $199.00 single or double plus applicable taxes.

Room Block Dates:

A room block has been reserved for the nights of December 5 – 7 2016.

Rate Available Until:

Make your reservations prior to November 14, 2016. There are a limited number of rooms available at the conference rate. Please make your reservations early.

Register

EventStandard RateAttendees
Proceedings packageUS $ 395.00
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