More than 80 percent of Customer Service calls answered within 30 seconds
Hundreds of customers served at dozens of pop-up events across the state
BINGHAMTON, NY — September 7, 2023 — New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E) have enacted an aggressive action plan to improve customer service after pandemic-related challenges and issues with increasing bill complexity due to solar, community distributed generation, and supply price increases. These improvements have paid off, with both Companies now meeting and exceeding stringent service levels required by the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC).
“We didn’t create the challenges posed by the COVID-19 Pandemic, which drove estimated bills, the great resignation, and customers’ payment difficulties,” said NYSEG and RG&E President and CEO Trish Nilsen. “What we have done is listen to our customers and respond with significant changes to our programs and processes to address customer needs; we’re now seeing our performance rebound and exceed pre-pandemic levels of service.”
In addition to hiring in their contact centers, meter reading and billing departments, the Companies have improved digital self-service channels like online and app payments and promoted programs that allow customers to read and submit their own meter readings. The Companies have also improved and enhanced the process by which customers connect a new home build or upgrade service and instituted proactive calls to customers to explain high bills due to an actual meter read that follows a period of estimated readings. The Companies continue to install smart meters in Binghamton, Brewster, Ithaca, Rochester, and Sodus. More than 130,000 meters have been installed so far. Of those, more than 100,000 meters are already communicating regular reads, significantly reducing estimated bills.
The Companies have assembled an internal task force to resolve complex customer complaints and are among the first utilities in New York to create an automated module to synch with the PSC’s complaint division. A series of more than 22 Customer Service Pop-up events in Rochester, Binghamton, and Brewster have reached hundreds of customers in-person in the communities we serve. And with the Companies’ new construction process that is more responsive to contractor needs, they have provided more than 1,000 real-time job status updates through digital self-service in just a few months.
While NYSEG and RG&E were challenged by unprecedented meter reading issues and workforce disruptions caused by the pandemic, the Companies have now significantly reduced estimated bills, are achieving high satisfaction with customers who contact Customer Service and are consistently answering those calls within 30 seconds more than 80 percent of the time.
While there will always be customers who need to contact the Companies with questions about their bill or issues to resolve, the majority of NYSEG and RG&E customers are satisfied with their electricity and natural gas service. The Companies have heard customers’ concerns and worked quickly and effectively to apply corrective action. The results are service levels at or above those set by the PSC and have held for 16 consecutive weeks.
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