Lightning Fast Staff Communications Enables Nimble Operation

utility-company-power

Our Customer

Utility company

Their Industry

Utilities

Location

United States

Number of Employees

6,000

Background

Maintaining strong lines of communication among its 6,000 strong workforce is of critical importance to this large American utility provider.

It has a substantial responsibility for supplying electricity to millions of customers throughout North America.

Thousands of its employees are field-based, in roles ranging from emergency responders, substation mechanics, meter readers and technicians. Getting the right information to these and office-based staff at the right time is vital for the smooth running of the company.

Key Challenges

Despite its considerable size, this utility works hard at being a nimble and efficient organization. It requires a well-oiled internal communications program to support this agility. The company had more than a hundred administrators pushing out staff messages to various teams.

Remote workers must have up-to-date, accurate information at their fingertips. These could be operational-style messages (such as the daily job list), or emergency notifications (such as a severe weather warning, emerging traffic situation, or major outage.). The consequences of a belated or missed message could be dire.

Email had been the standard communication channel, but there were concerns that staff could easily overlook an important message. Inbox overload combined with lack of control of when an email actually gets seen led the company to seek an alternative.

The company needed to find a better way to communicate – to procure an employee messaging system that would bypass email, enable staff to instantly see important or urgent messages, be suitable for both field and office-based staff, guarantee message delivery across all devices, and be easy to use.

Solution

After reviewing a range of employee communication platforms, the company selected SnapComms Desktop Alerts and Desktop Tickers. Both tools bypass email systems and offer full control of how and when messages get published.

The Desktop Alert displays as a pop-up message window directly onto employees’ screens, and can include text, images and hyperlinks – virtually impossible to overlook.

Tickers display as a slim window of moving text, scrolling across the bottom of a screen. This short-form style is ideal for broadcasting snippets of important information and for linking to more in-depth content elsewhere.

Application

The company uses Desktop Alerts primarily for emergency-style notifications. The spokesperson says, “In our region, we get a lot of strange, unpredictable weather. We try and alert staff if there's an extreme weather forecast: a timely warning could make all the difference to an employee’s day.

“We also monitor local news and traffic in the area. If there’s major congestion, we advise employees to take an alternative route, hopefully saving them, our customers and the company valuable time.

“If there's an accident on the expressway, we can push information out and advise nearby staff to exit at the next off ramp. Consequently, we don’t suffer productivity loss and staff don’t have to sit frustrated in traffic for hours.

“Worse still, if there’s an active shooter in the area, we’ll send out an urgent alert cautioning staff to stay away.”

The company uses SnapComms Scrolling Tickers primarily for informational alerts. “These are great for advising staff on less urgent but still important issues, such as server downtime.

“For our customer service center, these Tickers display key status updates, such as call volumes and call queues,” says the spokesperson. “They’re particularly effective in the busy call-center environment, as staff can scan read a Ticker while talking with a customer.”

Results

It’s been ten years since the company installed SnapComms, which the spokesperson describes as “a career highlight; something I’m particularly proud of”.

He says: “SnapComms is central to how we communicate these days. We use it 24/7. Staff genuinely value the information we send them, many of whom spend most of their day on their own, travelling between jobs.

“We make sure the content is relevant, and the frequency about right: we’re careful not to bombard staff,” he says.

Several partner organizations of the utility company are now piloting the service, with the aim to roll-out to thousands more staff in the near future.

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