As utility companies organize for storms, each has a set of procedures to go through in preparing to make the event pass quickly and safely. They go through their documented and well-rehearsed plan to make the event as easy on their customers as possible.
As a provider of communications services, we also have procedures that we go through for storm preparedness.
West is getting ready to react to Winter Storm Jupiter in a number of ways, like:
- Ensuring every Customer Relationship Manager contacts impacted utilities to make sure West’s customer database is up-to-date.
- Testing every inbound and outbound program to guarantee peak performance.
- Offering 24X7, on-call support for assistance should you need it (including weekends).
- In addition to our normal network readiness, West meets with capacity planning, to review potential outcomes and changes in storm direction and the utilities that may be affected. West monitors storms carefully, anticipating and calculating for any storm changes that could potentially affect customers.
We also talk to our utility partners about strategic outbound communications to help their customers weather the storm. Studies show that customers have higher satisfaction when they are proactively communicated to. Communications like this include what to expect with the impending storm, what to do if and when outages occur, what actions the utility is taking and consistent estimated restoration times – and don’t forget updates or changes.
To help with the list of communication “to-do’s”, West provides templates for calls and predefined messages that are easily accessible to send to commercial and residential customers. You can also check out West’s “Storm Kit” for some tips.
This week a utility company’s reputation took a hit on social media after failing to proactively communicate to their customers in advance of a storm that hit hard and heavy. Extended outages created considerable customer concern when the company failed to share reliable information and important updates, including estimated restoration times. In a digital age where customer perception can shift at the drop of a single negative Tweet or Facebook update, keeping customers out of the dark during severe weather is critical.
Rest assured, West is here to help our utility partners weather the storm. And don’t forget… communicate, communicate, and communicate to your customers!
How are you preparing for Jupiter?