UGI Inc. is a natural gas and electric utility company that serves more than 670,000 customers in Pennsylvania and other coverage areas. The company’s mission is to be the preeminent energy distributor within its targeted markets by providing a superior range of products and services to its customers, which includes a big focus on providing an incredible customer experience. To do so, UGI tapped ForeSee to help measure CX and strengthen its Voice of Customer program by providing actionable insights to the organization.
We recently sat down with Erica Komorosky, Customer Care Supervisor at UGI, to discuss the role UGI’s contact center plays in the organization’s customer experience strategy as well as how ForeSee is helping it achieve success through the Voice of the Customer.
Why is it important for UGI to measure the contact center customer experience?
[In my role], I’m responsible for handling customer escalations that rise up to the supervisor level, and working with others on the team to develop better customer service skills. We’re using ForeSee to help give us feedback as to what areas they can work on to improve.
Since UGI is a regulated utility our customers may not have the same kind of choice as they do with other types of services. But they certainly do [have a choice between] oil or electric. A lot of times if a customer moves into a house with natural gas, we’re the company that’s going to service them.
But it’s still important we’re providing good customer service. We want our customers to be happy and treated well by our representatives. And it’s important to maintain a good reputation [among existing customers] for anyone who might be considering converting to natural gas.
Additionally, as a regulated utility, if a customer is not satisfied with the service they get from us, they do have the ability to file a complaint with our Public Utility Commission. Measuring customer contact center experiences is also important to minimize complaints that are filed, and to give accurate information to our customers.
What ForeSee solutions does UGI use and why?
We started with a survey that goes to our customers after having contact with one of our representatives. If they call in and speak to a representative and we have their email address on file, they get a survey to share their experience, feedback for the company, feedback for the representative.
We implemented that almost a year ago, and have since started using a Smart Thank You page. So if customers are rating us low because their issue wasn’t resolved or give a low satisfaction score relating to their representative, they have the opportunity to request a call back from us, or a follow-up from a supervisor.
In the upcoming year, we’re going to expand what we’re measuring to also include our customer portals and our website. That means ForeSee will also start working with more parts of our organization — our communications and marketing departments, who own those channels.
What are the biggest issues the energy and utility industry faces that CX intelligence can help solve?
For UGI, we’re really trying to get a handle on where gaps might be in training with our representatives. We just started using a new customer information system, which our reps use most often — where they’re getting all information and scheduling appointments with customers. A big challenge we’re facing is trying to determine what else those reps still need to know and what we’re not doing correctly.
We’re finding that we get that feedback from customers, if we ask for it, if they feel that something wasn’t done right. For us, getting that feedback is really a priority.
How are you proving the business impact of your VOC program to executives and leadership? How are you surfacing the value of the VOC program and tools?
We use ForeSee CX Suite, and will be doing so even more going forward, to get actionable information to share with our executives. Our executives can even use the Suite themselves to get a quick snapshot of how we’re doing. It’s the primary tool we’re using.
Before partnering with ForeSee we weren’t getting a lot of feedback. We have one other company that does satisfaction surveys with UGI, but it’s a smaller sampling from what I understand. Other than that, we didn’t have a way to measure customer feedback. We were measuring our reps strictly on their call-handling metrics so, what their average handle time was, how many calls they were taking. That was really why we started the relationship with ForeSee. We saw the importance of not only measuring reps with those hard metrics, but also getting this additional feedback about customers’ attitudes and perceptions on the agent experience..
Can you give examples of things that you’ve been able to learn with that data and what changes you’ve implemented because of it?
One of the major things we’ve been able to learn happened once we started using the Smart Thank You page and getting follow-up alerts. That was when we really saw more valuable feedback. We have seven call center supervisors who all have access to ForeSee CX Suite… and once we started doing that, it drew attention to where the real problem areas likely were. Maybe the rep didn’t handle the call correctly, or the representative needs to work on their soft skills, whatever it might be. We were able to better identify areas of improvement for our reps where extra coaching is needed, and determine if it was related to policy or procedure.
Before we had ForeSee, our only way to really get that kind of feedback was call monitoring feedback from quality assurance team members, but all of it [was] just a sampling. When they all come together, it gives you a more complete picture of how the representative is doing.
How are you taking what you’re learning with contact center experience and spreading it to other areas of the company where it might be relevant?
The biggest area where it’s going to have relevance is with our marketing and communications department. Now that we are going to have them onboard, it will be even more important to keep that communication open because we’re going to help them get started with our new CX measurements.
I guess it’s pretty common that sometimes communication between departments in companies isn’t always as strong as it should be. [Now when we] say to other departments, “Hey, we’re getting a lot of feedback on this piece of the website,” they have [actionable] data to make changes.
What would you say is your biggest win with the data that you got from ForeSee? What drove the biggest impact?
For me it was hearing from the reps that they were happy to finally have feedback that was not necessarily just focused on their numbers. That was a frustration for a lot of people who felt like they were really good at one call resolution — like they were strong with customer service, but their calls might take them a little bit longer. Some reps felt as though they were negatively impacted for not meeting their goal metrics, but also not being rewarded for excellent call handling.
Our reps get scorecards every month, and right now the scorecards are measuring their average handle time, total calls, how many errors they have, etc. Eventually we’d like to incorporate ForeSee results so that we have a more complete picture of rep performance. Like I said, if a contact center representative is taking longer on a call, because they’re really focused on one call resolution, it would be something to balance out a longer average handle time.
Why do you invest in something like ForeSee versus another CX measurement survey tools?
Using ForeSee has been really beneficial. Having the CX Suite available to anyone in our organization has been very helpful. We have it for all of our supervisors, analysts, and call center managers.
Additionally, I like how the information is displayed, too — it’s intuitive and user-friendly. We’ve been impressed with what we’re able to get from ForeSee’s survey. And, the fact that we can use the same service across several departments is helpful because we’re compiling all of the data in one place, and able to look at different measures, too. It will help everything we’re doing to be more cohesive.
Download ForeSee’s Energy and Utility e‑book to learn about our 5-Step Model for CX Excellence. And for more CX best practices and ForeSee client success stories across all industries, check out our VOC Leaders blog series and our collection of ForeSee Case Studies.