In today’s world, utility companies play such a huge role in people’s daily existence that their services can be a matter of life or death.
Further, the range of energy alternatives has greatly broadened in recent years, often making the details and delivery of utility services more complex and subject to greater consumer confusion.
That’s why it’s so important for each utility company to have effective customer communication regarding emergencies, repairs, changes to service and other issues.
“Given the importance of water, gas and electricity to our lives, utility communications networks must be highly resilient, reliable and in many cases stronger than traditional commercial services,” notes Rob Thormeyer of global trade association Utilities Technology Council. “Any failure of these networks can have catastrophic results and could jeopardize life, safety, health and even national security.”
These days, the strongest networks center around three popular customer communication tools:
- Emergency Alert Systems
Solutions like Swift911 allow utility companies to instantly send emergency alerts to customers by text, phone, email, and/or social media. They no longer need to rely on TV or radio to communicate imminent threats to power or water sources - now they can transmit key info directly to anyone who signs up for that service, greatly improving their reach and bolstering customer safety.
- GIS Mapping
The geographic information systems technology incorporated into tools such as Swift911 enables utility companies to create any shape or size geo-filter against any list of contacts, allowing the distribution of alerts to only people within those affected areas. “Eighty to 90 percent of a utility’s data is somehow tied to a geographic location," explains a recent article by engineering firm Jones & Henry. "As such, utilities must know where their pipes, valves, pumps, meters and other facilities are located. (GIS) gives you the power to create maps, integrate information, visualize scenarios, solve complicated problems, present powerful ideas and develop effective solutions like never before."
- Inbound Hotlines
These are essential to giving consumers an option for securing key information when their power is down and they have no other means of receiving it. The call volume generated to utilities at such times could easily become unmanageable without the establishment of fast and efficient inbound hotlines.
Used by more than 3,000 organizations nationwide, Swift911 integrates world-class emergency alerting, incident management and public contact registration into one easy-to-use application. Learn more at 1-800-794-3891.