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You Don't Need to Silence Your Phone Anymore

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Not long ago, unique ring tones were all the rage. But when was the last time you actually heard a telephone ring, let alone with a clip of the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive"? My own phone rings so infrequently, I can hardly remember the last time I heard it.

Checking my log reveals that my last incoming call was about a week ago. I remember now—that was an automated call from the pharmacy telling me that my prescription was ready. The call was more of an irritant than a help, since the pharmacy had previously texted me the same information. Even my phone is going through digital transformation!

Digital transformation is a mega trend affecting every corner of our lives, including work. Your workflows, your workforce, and your customers are changing. Some don't even view this transformation as a change. The digital natives who grew up in the digital age consider this normal and think that everything else is just old-school. My son is a college senior and considers it rude to call someone without texting first to ensure that it's a good time to talk. Who knew? Fortunately, my wife does get special consideration for her occasional old-school behaviors.

I recently attended a performance of Hello, Dolly! at a small community theater, and the host talked about cell phones in his opening comments. He instructed the audience to use the correct hashtag and encouraged them to check in via social media. I thought I knew what would come next as I instinctively set my phone to vibrate mode, but—apparently confident that no phones would ring—he skipped right over any discussion about silencing cell phones.

Movie theater person on phone

Phones don't ring much anymore unless it's a call from a telemarketer or possibly the local utility with a customer satisfaction survey. Our industry is accustomed to receiving calls from customers for routine interactions like bill inquiries and reports of lights flickering or going out. We have been calling customers to conduct satisfaction surveys, make sure their lights are back on, and schedule inspections. These customers, like many in the current workforce, moved away from telephone calls to new means of personal communication. They habitually post selfies and collaborate by using hashtags on social media. They use new ways to communicate for business too.

Consider how Amazon runs its business. I love shopping with Amazon and remember when it only sold books. Like any business, the company occasionally falls short with its orders. For businesses, customer problems are where the rubber really meets the road. Many survey results reveal that satisfied customers may tell a couple of people about their experience, but unhappy customers tell their story to many more. Customer satisfaction is a pivotal issue for any business. It is critical that utilities shine when customer problems do arise. That's the justification for the call center, right?

All my Amazon issues have been very satisfactorily resolved without a single phone call! How wonderful it is to get what you need without waiting on hold! Amazon runs a very comprehensive platform that handles virtually all customer issues with ease. It's an operating environment customized for an excellent cross-platform user experience. It runs on my digital TV, mobile applications, and through the browser. Similarly, utilities around the globe are leveraging modern geographic information systems to engage their stakeholders, including communities, customers, and employees. They may take an interest in work sites, project plans, outages, or electric vehicle charging stations. This engagement often exploits location awareness, which is integral to most utility workflows, and helps drive additional customer value. When you are sensitive to location, it’s easy to relate stakeholders to the things that may affect them.

Also, social media platforms offer society new ways to communicate and collaborate. People love them. Businesses must find ways to connect with their customers in the ways they prefer.

How is your utility engaging people in new ways? What is your strategy for changing from legacy, old-school behaviors?

The ArcGIS platform gives all stakeholders the ability to conveniently access and share countless sources of vital utility information and conduct business with fewer phone calls. The next time you hear a phone ring, remember: that's not just a phone. That's a location-aware digital transformation device, ready to engage your stakeholders in new ways - anytime, anywhere.

For more information about how the ArcGIS platform helps electric utilities engage stakeholders in new ways, download our free e-book.Advertisement

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Thank Pat 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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