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IVR Featured Article

DTE Energy Proactively Communicates with Customers using Angel's Outbound Solution

March 26, 2013

Today, outbound technology empowers businesses to proactively communicate with customers. The communication method comes in a variety of forms like a phone call, SMS or e-mail. So, when businesses provide personalized information to their customers, the relationship between them and the customer is strengthened. And most importantly, speed matters.

“In the world of customer service, outbound communications allow companies to address anticipated questions before the customer even has the chance to express them. Proactive communication ultimately fosters the holy grail of businesses – customer loyalty – by demonstrating to customers that businesses care to keep them informed and make their lives easier and simpler,” Steve Gass, senior product manager for proactive communications at Angel, told TMCnet in an exclusive interview.

Recently, DTE Energy, an energy provider, decided to incorporate Angel's Outbound platform in order to improve proactive customer communication. Angel’s Customer Experience (CX) Platform, gives DTE Energy the flexibility to communicate with thousands of customers immediately. With Angel's cloud-based outbound solution, DTE Energy can proactively provide its customers with relevant information in real-time, creating a more transparent customer experience and stronger customer satisfaction.

Utility companies like DTE Energy need to rapidly manage and place high volumes of customer calls, usually following a power outage. When it comes to a crisis or natural disaster, it’s especially important for an energy company like DTE Enegry to communicate in real time and utilize a platform that is 100 percent scalable to their needs. “They require being able to immediately connect with customers to inform and potentially warn them of certain conditions,” said Glass.

These days, Angel, a provider of CX solutions, enables organizations to quickly deploy voice, SMS, chat, mobile and Business Intelligence (BI) applications that all put the CX first. Its solutions are built on an on-demand, software-as-a-service (SaaS (News - Alert)) platform and require no investment in hardware, software or human resources.  

With Angel’s outbound technology, DTE Energy can provide transparency to its customers by delivering up-to-date information by enabling it to place outbound phone calls to anywhere between one and two million customers in minutes. The solution allows businesses to engage with their customers and utilize each interaction to target a specific customer to provide information that is important to them. Angel leverages the data businesses already have about their customers to ensure they are proactively communicating information that the customer would want to know, whether it is about a storm heading to their way or a reminder of a change in account information.

Currently, an individual customer complaint can take up to 12 hours to resolve, resulting in significant engineering. With an outbound solution in place, DTE Energy can increase its transparency with its customers, provide up-to-date information and reduce customer complaints and costs.

“At Angel, we think about the customers’ needs first and provide solutions for businesses that will significantly improve the overall customer experience. We value being a part of keeping our clients’ customers informed to increase brand loyalty which ultimately leads to higher customer satisfaction and retention,” commented Glass.

DTE Energy can inform customers if an event occurred that caused an interruption to a customer’s service and provide an estimated resolution time. Then, following power restoration, DTE Energy places a call to confirm the restoration, and they often discover isolated neighborhoods that were not restored. So, DTE Energy receives this information when the customer responds to a proactive communication indicating they do not yet have power. According to Glass, this two-way communication allows DTE crews in that specific area to immediately deploy a crew to those individual houses which did not get power restored to fix the problem. The flexibility of the Angel platform serves DTE Energy by reaching a large portion of their customer base within minutes or placing targeted calls to certain neighborhoods. 

"In the event of a service disruption or an outage, every second that goes by without providing information can lead to a dissatisfied customer or a formal complaint," said Robert Carpenter, data quality manager at DTE Energy, in a statement. "As our customer base continues to change, we needed an easy way to not only quickly and proactively engage with them, but more importantly personalize each interaction based on the changing nature of each event.”

Angel's outbound platform is connected to Angel's CX Builder, a Web-based point-and-click solution that enables DTE Energy users to develop changes to communications. In turn, these communications streamline how outbound campaigns are designed, can be customized based on the event and are personalized to the customers' needs.

"By offering customers transparency and providing the most up-to-date information, businesses can build something truly valuable: customer trust," said Dave Rennyson, president of Angel. "Businesses like DTE Energy especially understand the value of customer trust and face the unique challenge of needing to quickly connect with their customer base within a matter of minutes.”

Edited by Rachel Ramsey


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