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Industry spotlight: Utilities

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Lachlan Hessing


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4 Oct 2018
3 min read
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Essential service providers have a wide network of infrastructure, equipment, and specialist staff at their disposal, often spread across a large area.

With complex interdependencies, working alongside government departments, and a network that needs to stay operational 24/7, reliable communications are paramount. Customer engagement and operational communications are both important for utilities companies, but the priority is business resilience communications, to resolve incidents quickly.

Business resilience – communicating and resolving incidents

Ensuring that crisis management teams are always at the ready is crucial for essential services providers. A big part of this readiness is instant, widespread communications capability, and an integrated solution is one of the best ways to guarantee that the right people will be alerted, with the right information, at the right time - automatically. Preparation is key. If it’s a power surge, burst water main, equipment failure, or a safety drill, managing the information flow from one place makes coordinated contact more efficient – and there is no better way to do that than by integrating business communications.

Internal communications – improving on the day-to-day

With a significant portion of the utilities workforce operating alone or in small teams remotely, keeping everyone connected across large distances is a challenge. Meeting your duty of care obligations by staying in regular contact with lone workers, reporting on infrastructure status, and making sure that internal announcements reach all staff in a timely fashion is difficult. Reduce reaction time and ready the business to adapt to changing circumstances, by enabling business leaders, employees, and contractors to send, receive and track messages across multiple channels, through one central hub. Whispir gives a real-time view of all messages the instant they are sent or received, and by integrating and automating communications the business can respond and inform at speed.

Customer engagement - keeping all stakeholders informed

If there is an unplanned outage, customers need to be informed. Integrated communications allow for branded, personalised rich messages to be sent to affected customers, with information on the outage. Integrated communications can also help new customers – allowing them to self-service via a portal, and onboard through interactive rich messages, with progress updates on applications, service improvements, and more sent at regular intervals or on request. Upcoming payment notifications can also be automated in this way, with response options to check and correct payment details – or if the bill is already late, an overdue payment reminder can be automatically sent out, with links to pay, schedule a payment plan, or contact a representative.

Integrated communications in practice

An unplanned outage occurs. The business needs to react, fast. A lone worker sends an initial message to a designated number, then receives a rich web-based check-in form to their device. This form contains fields to specify their task and an estimated completion time. Whispir logs this time, and when it expires, sends out a reminder notification to the worker. At this point, the worker can update the completion time (with a notification automatically sent out to stakeholders); or mark the task as complete and closed. If no response is submitted, after a specified period of time Whispir escalates, notifying team leaders according to set escalation rules. This ensures that everyone involved is kept in the loop, and can take action quickly when issues or emergencies arise.

Mitigating risk, reducing incident impact, keeping teams connected, and driving a greater customer experience - it all starts with managing communications.

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