Webcast: Optimizing utility workforce management improves customer satisfaction

By Rod Walton, Power Engineering content director

Outage and duration

Those two of the most important (and scariest) words in the English language for utilities which are dealing with and trying to respond to breakdowns on their systems. Acronyms such as SAIDI and SAIFI (system average interruption frequency index and system average interruption duration index) are key barometers upon which power providers are judged by both customers and vendor-neutral industry rating firms. A breakdown or planned outage at a power plant also calls for adaptive and responsive turnarounds by crews both on-site and those brought in from the outside.

Field service management software firm Service Power is sponsoring a Thursday webcast on “Leveraging Technology to Optimize Your Utility and Grid Workforce Management and Improve Customer Satisfaction.” Service Power will highlight its work with utilities such as Alabama Power and manufacturers and service firms such as Siemens. It also will offer a live demonstration of its system in the free, one-hour event beginning 11 a.m. ET Thursday (10 a.m. Central).

Utilities across the nation and world tout their low SAIDI and SAIFI numbers when they can; these are proof that they are responsive and customer friendly. Getting crews out to fix outages as quick as possible not only makes the customer base happy, but it also saves money in the long run.

Field service management is a crucial aspect for any company, but time is a measurably telling statistic which holds utilities to account for better or worse. A host of companies are lauded for their consistently nimble and quick-acting outage response efforts, while others are hit hard on social media and found near the bottom of customer satisfaction ratings reports. Looking up is not a great view in business.

Customers often might be agitated when an outage happens, but they get downright angry when the breakdown is lengthy and utility communication is slow or non-existent. That is not acceptable during this era of online immediacy.

When an electric utility’s scheduling is not as efficient as it could be, that also can impact the bottom line. Looking at the field service industry itself, some 76 percent of organizations say they find it challenging to remain profitable, according to Field Service News. Every efficiency of time and manpower is key to success.

Thus, there clearly is plenty of room for improvement for utilities despite significant gains in cutting SAIDI and SAIFI averages in recent years. Tools such as artificial intelligence can help in both triage and scheduling, while improving technician arrival notifications and real-time status updates have improved net promoter scores by 30 percent, in some cases.

The Service Power webcast Thursday will feature Samir Gulati, who has brought more than 25 years of experience in technology to bear as chief marketing and product officer for the company. He will be joined by Tim Griffiths, who is senior sales engineer at Service Power.

The event will focus not only on employed workforce deployment but also third-party needs and challenges, since utilities often must contract out work when grid damage is significant.

Registration is free for “Leveraging Technology to Optimize your Utility and Grid Workforce Management and Improve Customer Satisfaction. Click here to register.

The webcast will be live from 11 a.m.-noon ET Thursday and on demand for one year after that.

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