North American Power - Customer Service or Call Center Consulting Practice of the Year

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Company: North American Power, Norwalk, CT
Company Description: North American Power is a competitive electricity and natural gas supplier serving 250,000 customers in 63 utility territories across 12 states. North American Power has been recognized by Forbes as one of America’s Most Promising Companies and by Inc. Magazine as one of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies, and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Nomination Category: Solution Provider Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Customer Service or Call Center Consulting Practice of the Year

Nomination Title: North American Power

Tell the story about what this nominated organization has achieved since the beginning of July 2015 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

hen it enrolled its first customer in 2010, North American Power was a company almost solely focused on growth—as most new companies are. At the time, the company placed less of a priority on building out its operational and customer service infrastructure. The company enjoyed rapid growth—enrolling 100,000 customers in just its first year, and amassing over 250,000 three years after launching. While having a lot of customers is a problem any company would like to have, the ever-growing customer count further amplified the need to dedicate greater focus to operational and customer service excellence.

As North American Power began to pivot its priorities to serving its existing customer book, the Polar Vortex hit. Rates soared with the wholesale market, and complaints followed. Some customers calling in to inquire about their bill faced long hold times, inexperienced agents, or both. In addition, our Operations team was heavily constrained by an infrastructure and processes that made administering rate plans and customer correspondence very difficult, inefficient, and prone to error. Though in the midst of this energy crisis we demonstrated a commitment to doing the right thing by providing millions of dollars’ worth of voluntary customer accommodations and warning customers of forthcoming rate increases, all of these factors led to a customer experience that in many cases we could not be proud of. Our BBB rating at one point during this period sank to a “D”.

It was in the wake of the Polar Vortex—and the unprecedented customer complaint numbers that followed—that North American Power truly committed itself to achieving an exceptional customer experience. That meant much more than just engraving words on a wall—it meant investing significant amounts of time, money, and resources into all aspects of the business that impact the customer. Among many other things, the company developed efficiencies around pricing and billing to reduce errors, optimized call center workforce management to ensure hold times were as low as possible, worked to improve the quality of call center agents through improved evaluation criteria, began to push fixed rates more with customers, adapted our energy purchasing methods to better protect against huge market fluctuations, revamped our customer communications to make things even easier to understand, introduced an unprecedented home energy report, Understandabill, which provides customers with monthly insights into how (and how much) their home uses, and what they could do to use (and pay) less, and launched a brand new, also focused on “simple”. In addition, a new mobile version of the site was launched utilizing responsive design to give customers a true mobile-friendly experience.

As a result of this enormous team effort, North American Power is proud to have achieved the following:
-An improvement of its BBB rating from a D to an A+ ?
-A 96.7% reduction in BBB complaints since 2014 ?
-A 91% reduction in all complaints since 2014 ?
-A 90% decrease in customer refunds due to pricing/processing errors in July 2016 ?compared to July 2015 ?
-Customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores have improved almost every quarter since Q2 ?2015—which is when we first began to measure CSAT. ?
-An average customer hold time of just 22 seconds

Though North American Power has dramatically improved in a very short amount of time, we recognize that there is always room for improvement, and have since only invested further in the pursuit of achieving a customer experience that is truly exceptional. While there is more to come in the near future, North American Power has demonstrated remarkable progress and commitment to customer service, and would be a worthy winner of this award. Thank you for your consideration.