Earlier this week I received a phone call from my utility company, ComEd. The call was automated and could have gotten to the point a little bit quicker, but I held on and listened. It was a proactive communication to let me know that my power was going to be turned off at 2pm that day for 240 minutes due to an emergency situation. I was at work and at the time my wife was out of the house with the kids. She was due home shortly, so I sent her a quick update with the same content.
Now, in actuality, the power was turned off at around 3pm. I know this because my home security cameras send an email when their power is disrupted. So the clock starts ticking at 3pm. I received a text message at 4:46pm stating that tree trimming was occurring in my area, and I would likely lose power. I arrive home and eat dinner in the fading daylight with my family around 6pm. Over dinner, my wife mentions that we should do a few things around the house while we still have daylight. She says, “there is no telling how long the power will be out.” My response was simple, “ComEd set our expectations and I’m certain that power will be restored on or before 240 minutes from the start of the outage, 7pm.” Sure enough at 6:46pm the lights turned back on 14 minutes ahead of schedule!
Incidentally, I did have to sign-up for text message alerts on the ComEd portal (although I do not know if I signed up for phone calls too). After dinner and during the outage, my wife was chatting with the neighbor who did not receive a phone call or text message. He had called in and was provided the same information that I had received hours prior.
Although the initial notification experience could be improved slightly with timing, channel consistency, and event start time accuracy, I was notified of an upcoming event and the accuracy of the event end time was spot on. Setting your customer’s expectations goes a long way in reducing calls into your contact center. Does my neighbor even know he can sign up for proactive alerts? Do your customers?
Overall, I’d rate ComEd a 9 of 10 for my experience this week. Thank you!