Yesterday morning I was working at my desk when I heard a broadcast-quality voice coming from somewhere behind me. Something about a planned power outage. I heard it again. And again.
Then I went to investigate.
The voice was my co-worker, Communications Manager Hugh Imhof, recording phone messages that will be sent to customers who will experience a planned power outage in the near future. Since it’s construction season we’re upgrading and replacing portions of our system, which sometimes requires a short power outage. We want to make sure you know about them beforehand, whenever possible.
One of the best ways to let customers know is to call them, although door hangers and other means may also be applied depending on the location and circumstances.
I hear from a lot of people online who ask where Avista is tightening its belt and being more efficient – this is a great example of where it is happening every day. Hugh was recording three planned power outage messages for this week.
Our automated phone system (we call it EVP) is being used to gain efficiencies wherever possible. For example, earlier this year around 1,400 of our customers in Idaho had to be contacted by Avista. Previously two or three customer service representatives would handle the live calls – a process that could take up to a week. This year with EVP, it took two hours – a tremendous savings in time and money.
This system is also being used for updates on real-time power outages, inquires to customers about bills, and to handle many transactions when you call us at 1-800-227-9187. We want to make sure we always deliver great customer service to you, so my co-workers worked hard to make this system a reality and it’s certainly paying off.
Hugh isn’t the only voice you’ll hear if you get a phone call from us, you may also hear Communications Manager Laurine Jue and others. I invite you to watch a quick Q and A video that Hugh and I recorded about the messages he was recording yesterday.