Guest Blogger: Sarah Holsapple, Media Relations/Spokesperson, Citizens Energy Group
After a year of hard work, AGA member utility Citizens Energy Group launched a new and improved website last month. The new site is receiving rave reviews from both customers and employees. While the website has the same URL as our previous site, CitizensEnergyGroup.com has a brand new look and feel. Before I explain the features of the new website, let me provide some background as to why Citizens developed it in the first place.
In early 2013, Citizens began an initiative we dubbed Voice of the Customer in which we proactively sought feedback on all our business practices, including our website. Through dozens of conversations, customers told us we needed to improve the design and navigation of our site. With customer service being a top priority at Citizens, we took their suggestions to heart.
Besides the aesthetic differences to the website, we’ve added the following features to make the user experience more convenient:
- Fewer Clicks - Whether you’re looking for conservation tips or a link to pay your bill, our new website will get you there faster by offering just five category choices: My Account, My Home, My Business, Our Company and For Partners.
- Personalized Dashboard – Our new customer dashboard provides links to customers’ current and previous bills. The dashboard also provides quick links to important topics including payment options, starting and stopping service and conservation tips.
- Mobilization – In this day and age when many customers access our site on mobile devices, we’ve designed the site to be optimized for any screen size: smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
- Convenient Communication – Over the next year, Citizens will add even more functionality allowing you to enroll in budget billing or to make flexible payment arrangements. We’ll also let you choose how you hear from us whether via text, email or by phone.
Citizens promoted the new website, designed in-house and built by Bitwise Solutions, Inc., through a press release, an email to customers and various forms of social media. Our customers have been pleased with the change and are commenting about how easy it is to pay bills on the new site and how quickly they can find information. When it comes to interacting with customers, Citizens’ website is one of our most powerful tools. Now that this tool is updated, easy to access on any device and user-friendly, we’re proving to customers that their voices are being heard.
Has your utility’s website recently gone through a redesign? Let AGA know in the comments section below.
How would your non-profit educational organization like to receive thousands of dollars in grants this summer? The Public Service Electric and Gas (PSEG) Foundation is currently accepting applications from afterschool, summer and youth development programs to develop new or enhance existing science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) educational opportunities for students.
The PSEG Foundation, the philanthropic arm of AGA member company PSEG, will consider applications from their New Jersey service territory, as well as Salem and Cumberland counties, and the service and operation territories in Long Island and Albany, New York, as well as Bridgeport and New Haven, Connecticut.
Each proposal will be evaluated based on the following factors:
- Focus on academic enrichment with already existing programming
- Strong, relevant and inspiring STEM content with focus on hands-on, experiential learning
- Emphasis on the application and mastery of problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork skills
- Number of students served
- A commitment to continuous improvement, with a focus on outcomes and evaluation
- Demonstrated level of involvement with local schools and/or families
- Capacity to implement and sustain new programming
- Demonstrated program sustainability
The Foundation anticipates awarding funding to eight organizations, although the number of recipients and their award amount will be decided based on the strength of the proposals received at the discretion of Foundation staff. Applications must be completed and submitted by Friday, August 15 at 5 p.m. EST. All applicants will receive notification about funding decisions in late September 2014.
Applicants interested in applying can do so directly through PSEG’s online application by clicking here. Check back with the AGA blog later this fall for an update on all the winning organizations.
AGA Members Named Most Trusted Natural Gas Utilities
Eight American Gas Association (AGA) member companies are among the utilities that received the highest rankings in Market Strategies’ 2014 Utility Trusted Brand & Customer Engagement study.
Nearly 19,000 residential utility customers served by the 125 largest natural gas, electric and combination utilities in the United States were surveyed to provide insight into the relationship consumers have with their utility providers, including operational satisfaction and product experience.
AGA is proud to congratulate the following utilities that topped the natural gas and combination companies in their region:
Each utility was scored on 28 separate measures in six areas: concern for customers, company reputation, credibility, dedication, environmental performance and community involvement. According to Market Strategies, the report showed that customers of utilities with strong brand trust tend to enroll in more programs and are far more prone to making positive comments on social media and elsewhere about their provider.
Click here for more information about the survey, as well as a full list of the top ranked utilities.
AGA member CenterPoint Energy was awarded last month with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) International Torch Award for Ethics, presented by the Council of Better Business Bureaus, recognizing businesses exhibiting outstanding ethical practices.
Candidates for this inaugural award had to have previously won their local Torch Award for Ethics, which CenterPoint Energy did in October 2013 in the largest business category by the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. In 2012, CenterPoint Energy was also named to the BBB Centennial Honor Roll, which salutes century-old companies that have supported BBB for most or all of its history.
CenterPoint Energy Community Relations Director Jean Krause accepts the BBB International Torch Award for Ethics.
Image courtesy of CenterPoint Energy.
According to the BBB, the international award judges were impressed with CenterPoint Energy’s commitment to employees and ethical behavior. Each of the utility’s employees are required to take at least one continuing education course related to ethics each year. The judges also said they appreciated CenterPoint Energy’s motto, “Operating ethically is simply what we do.”
“This award reflects our employees’ commitment to providing safe and reliable service to our customers and communities every day,” said Joe Vortherms, Vice President of CenterPoint Energy Gas Operations in Minnesota. “We’re proud to say that we’ve been doing it for more than 140 years.”
AGA congratulates CenterPoint Energy on this prestigious international recognition for ethical behavior, as well as their continued commitment to safety, integrity and reliability.