VEC Using Technology to Stay in Touch With Customers
Volunteer Energy Cooperative (VEC) has put some new technologies to work to help keep customers up to date on the status of their VEC accounts.
VEC’s Interactive Voice Response system is being used to notify customers when their account becomes severely delinquent.
Karen Davis, Vice President of Information Technology, said the idea is to make sure customers are aware of potential problems before VEC is forced to discontinue service.
Davis said, “We will give the customers a courtesy call about 24 hours before service is discontinued.” She said the majority of customers respond and bring their accounts up to date before VEC is forced to go out and discontinue service.
“It saves money for the customer because they save on any disconnect or reconnect fees,” Davis said. “And it saves VEC the expense of sending crews out twice – once to disconnect and again to reconnect.”
The courtesy call will be done in addition to the mailed notices that VEC will continue to use to notify customers of impending disconnects.
Davis said that no system is perfect but if errors are made, it is more likely that customers who are not scheduled for disconnection will receive one of the calls. She said that it is less likely that a customer who is scheduled to be disconnected will not receive the call.
One of the most important ways we can avoid these mistakes is to have a correct phone number on file for every customer, Davis said.
She urged customers to phone their local VEC Customer Service Center to verify that the phone number we have on file for their account is correct.
Davis said it will not only increase efficiency with these courtesy calls, it will also make reporting an outage faster and easier for customers, and it will help insure that VEC can reach a customer when we need to.