Natural Disaster Communication When Lives Are On The Line

utility-company

Our Customer

Major utility company

Their Industry

Services

Location

United States

Number of Employees

18,000 including 200 call center

Background

Victor Joseph is a senior supervisor for a major utility company employing 18,000 staff and providing gas and electricity services to customers on the U.S. East Coast.

The call center that Joseph helps to manage has around 200 office-based customer service representatives (reps) and will soon include a remote team working out of home-offices. It handles all manner of account and billing queries. For Joseph and his fellow supervisors, the focus is on enabling the reps to deliver the best possible customer service, even in the most challenging of circumstances.

Key Challenges

The organization had been using the SnapComms internal communications software since 2010 for a range of business messages from simple reminders — to complete a staff survey for example — and requests, through to procedures for complying with regulatory requirements and major incidents pertaining to power delivery.

When Hurricane Sandy wreaked its havoc in October 2012, millions of homes and businesses on the Eastern Seaboard were without power. Company employees themselves had also been personally impacted by the devastating events.

Joseph and his team quickly mobilized to respond to customers whose homes were destroyed or who had water in their gas lines or damage to meters and other hardware. It was vital that the reps had up-to-the minute information on which areas were most damaged. This is when the SnapComms communications channels were invaluable.

Solution

The business had already been using pop-up desktop alerts and scrolling newsfeeds to instantly communicate policy procedures and a range of other operational information.

Desktop alerts ensure high impact to get employee attention immediately, whether via desktop, mobile or digital signage.

Desktop tickers newsfeed-style text scroll across the bottom of employees’ computer screens to provide fast updates of information at-a-glance, with low staff intrusion.

Application

The SnapComms channels were quickly and simply deployed to communicate hurricane-related damage and updates to reps from field staff based on the ground.

Management and their advisors were also able to use the tools to coach employees on how to approach specific groups of customers who were impacted by the devastation of the hurricane and who were experiencing distress and discomfort.

Scrolling_ticker_alert
The reps were already familiar with receiving important information direct to their desktops and liked the ability to get this without having to go and search for it. They could also personalize how they see such information on their screens.
alert-no-change

Results

For Joseph and his peers, some of the biggest benefits have been in message cut-through and the reassurance of knowing that they can get information out to staff straight away, without risking delayed responses from email or misinterpretation through word of mouth.

They also noted the unexpected bonus of SnapComms tools reducing the amount of physical running around the supervisors have to do to relay information to the reps, as well as reducing interruptions and distractions for the reps.

Joseph has used SnapComms to manage staff communications for a broad set of situations and he has not been afraid to try new things through using the software. “I liked it the first time I saw it and as time progressed I learned a bit more about it.”

He has created a range of different templates to suit different message objectives and content – adding variety and keeping things fresh to maintain staff interest.

Going forward he envisages the software becoming “an invaluable tool” and instrumental in the organization’s strategic initiative to facilitate home-based working for reps.

I am totally satisfied with SnapComms. I love it, love its features. I love the fact that it is always evolving.

Victor Joseph Senior Supervisor, Utility company

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