New solutions to build lasting customer relationships amidst industry transformation was the focus of this year’s annual Allconnect Partner Summit, featuring over 100 U.S. energy company leaders and industry experts who gathered in Cleveland, Ohio, from September 20-22.
Steven Strah, Senior Vice President and President, FirstEnergy Utilities, and Len Komoroski, CEO of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Quicken Loans Arena, were joined by Allconnect CEO Sam Howe for back-to-back keynote presentations that set the stage for the next two days. Strah discussed a range of current opportunities that FirstEnergy and the industry are focusing on, such as ways to enhance the customer experience and other new operational initiatives. Komoroski then shared the story of Cleveland overcoming decades of challenges that led to its recent success in hosting the Republican National Convention and winning the NBA world championship.
The conference also featured a panel of senior executives discussing industry challenges and growth opportunities. Sydney Seiger, Chief Marketing Officer of TXU Energy; Phyllis Batson, Vice President of Customer Engagement and Care at CPS Energy; and Brett Reynolds, Vice President of FE Products, covered a range of topics, from product differentiation in deregulated markets to helping customers understand value to customer segmentation for more effective communications.
Other presentations included:
Jeff Beasley, Vice President of Customer Care for Westar Energy, and Tom Kirkpatrick, Vice President of Customer Services, Marketing and Distribution Services at AEP, presented their perspectives on the future of the utility industry. Beasley discussed customer expectations regarding communication while Kirkpatrick shared his company’s transition from only transactional interactions to that of a trusted advisor.
Ralph Bellamy, Director, Customer Service Center for Alabama Power, shared the changes his company has made in recruiting, retaining and developing talent.
Gabrielle Reckin, Site Manager for the Customer Contact Center at Xcel Energy, presented how Xcel Energy uses four key moments that matter in a customer’s relationship with their power company.
Steve Alviso, Manager of PG&E Contact Center Operations, and Marlene Bugnosen, Manager of PG&E Communications & Change Management, discussed their success in motivating call center employees by focusing on effort, enlightenment and engagement.
Russell Hinton, Director, Retail Products and Services at Dominion Retail, Inc.; Dave Defide, Manager of Customer Programs at Duquesne Light Company; Michele Jones, Director of Product Innovation and Development at FirstEnergy; and Danielle Green, Customer Care Manager at PECO all discussed the challenges power companies face and how they are identifying and achieving solutions.
Kim Shumway, Executive Vice President of Partner Management and Business Development for Allconnect, emphasized the importance of continuous innovation.
The Partner Summit concluded with a tour highlighting green energy initiatives at Cleveland’s baseball stadium, Progressive Field, led by Tim Quine, Director, Communications Services at FirstEnergy, and Jerry Crabb, Senior Director of Ballpark Operations at Progressive Field.