Communicating with Customers During Crisis

Over these last few weeks, we have been talking to and listening to our energy and water clients, partners, and friends. You are literally the lifeblood of our society - you’ve got our lights on; computers, phones, and data centers running; food and medicine refrigerated; homes and water heated; and safe, potable water delivered. Without you there is no way we get through the pandemic. Many of you are adopting policies to suspend disconnects for nonpayment during the epidemic, which is critical for supporting self-quarantine to manage the spread of the virus. And most, if not all of you are posting your policies to protect your staff and facilities by shifting to virtual meetings and having all non-essential staff telework. These steps are a testament to your hard work and dedication, and Utilities, you can do even more to help your customers and communities.    How? Here are a few ideas. Reassure your customers If you’ve recently visited any grocery store in your neighborhood, you know that your customers are panicking. They are envisioning a society that no longer works. Let them know that’s not true because you’re on the job.

  • Tell them about the steps you’re taking to keep electricity, gas and water working to keep them safe and healthy;

  • Tell them how to get in touch with you if they have any trouble (even if you think they already know);

  • Ask them for their ideas on how you could help the community, track the ideas, and even do a few of the better ideas to demonstrate your responsiveness;

  • And finally tell them to get in touch with you if they need help so you can redirect them as needed - your call centers may end up being a resource that gets your customers through this.