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Heavier Than Normal Call Volume

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How many times have you heard this recording:

“You have reached the XYZ company. We are experiencing heavier than normal call volume at this time. Please call back later or stay on the line and someone will help you.”

I have been put on hold for as long as 45 minutes when I was trying to reach my internet provider during an internet outage. When your internet is down, your connection to the outside world stops. Since I use the internet for my land phone line, I had to use my cell phone to make the call. Good thing my phone had access to the internet. I finally gave up and hung up. I went on line using my cell phone to see if I could report the outage to my provider. No such luck. There was no outage map so I had no idea if my problem was my router or some kind of system trouble. Of course, I kept resetting my router in hopes that somehow this could fix the problem. It was fruitless. Eventually, it came back several hours later. I found out later speaking to a couple of neighbors that the problem was widespread.

When we think of digital transformation, we often think high tech. Something brand new, like the iPhone or Alexa. There is another kind of digital transformation. When someone comes up with a way to make our lives better, less annoying, irritating or down right frustrating. I can’t think of anything more frustrating that waiting on the phone listening to some philharmonic instrumental version of Meat Loaf’s song Two Out of Three Aint’ Bad.” interspersed with an insincere voice claiming that the company values your call and apologizes for the inconvenience. How about a simple on-line app that 1) acknowledges that based on your location (no need to enter your address or account number) your internet, cable phone, electricity) has been interrupted and 2) we are working on it. 3) it will be back in some specified time. That allows me to relax and simply do something else. Go for a walk, a drive, a movie. The internet is down. Someone knows and is fixing it. Perfect. Putting that in place doesn’t get my internet back on, but it eliminates annoyance.

That would be digital transformation.

Of course, the technology to do that now is available now. The use pattern for that kind of app is called Constituent Engagement. The idea is to communicate back and forth to the customer. When I worked for the power company, we had a huge call center. People called for a variety of things: their bill was too high, their power was out, a running line truck was parked outside their house, the street light across street was out. Electricians called regularly to find out the status of their work orders, wanted to know when the power company was going to hook up a new service or when a meter was going to be installed.

Picture a customer calling to complain about a street light flickering or out. After they get through the “press 1 for billing issues, press 2 for power failures, press 3 for whatever, and then the “we are experiencing greater than normal…” routine, and the call center person then asks for the customers 25 digit account number, then finally they get down to real issue. The street light is out. The call center person then asks for the pole number. What? Since the street is pitch black and customers is problem not dressed to go outside anyway, there is no way the customer could even find the pole number. Sure it all gets fixed, eventually.

The simple solution of course is a simple GIS based Constituent Engagement App based of course on the ArcGIS platform. Pull up the app. It knows where you are. A map shows where the street lights are. Click on the street light icon. A panel drops down with couple of choices – out, damaged, flickering, too bright. Pick one. Hit done. Then there is an acknowledgement that the company got the data and a note that the light will be fixed in xx hours. Simple, easy.

A public facing outage viewer works the same way. Power is out. Go on line. Is this a big one or small one? No need to report it. They know already. They say when the power will be back. Now the customer relaxes and puts another log on the fire.

Simple digital transformation.

What is going on behind the scenes is that the ArcGIS platform manages the system of record of the facilities. It knows where they all are and lots of information about them. The GIS is integrated with the Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) and Outage Management or Advanced Distributions Management System and the SCADA System so it has access to real time information. It publishes simple web maps for customers to use. It communicatees with the field workers for ease of restoration on their mobile devices. It uses analytics to determine likely causes for issues and takes preventative measures to solve problems before that causes bigger problems

Now that’s digital transformation.

So the next time you hear, “we are experiencing greater than normal.” know that that company is ripe for a constituent engagement application using GIS.

To find out more the ArcGIS platform improves stakeholder engagement download our free e-book.


Bill Meehan's picture

Thank Bill for the Post!

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Esri, the global leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, builds the most powerful mapping and spatial analytics technology available.


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