As product manager for technology solutions, I look down the road to find or develop key solutions and partnerships that will keep us on top of the game. I haven’t always been forward-looking when it came to technology however. Back when self-checkout registers were introduced in grocery stores, I was working as a manager for a chain office supply store. Part of my responsibilities included overseeing customer service and training staff to make our customers’ experience as enjoyable as possible – so I had a hard time seeing the value in asking customers to ring up and bag their own groceries.
I must humbly admit, I was wrong. It turns out that providing customers with the option to “serve themselves” in exchange for a quicker transaction is actually an excellent form of customer service. And this approach doesn’t apply to just grocery shopping. Faced with either contacting a call center or helping themselves online, many companies – from banks to online retailers – are seeing customers gladly opt for self-service.
Thanks to solutions like Franklin Energy’s Efficiency Contact, utilities – and their efficiency programs – can now provide their customers with a self-service option as well. (Tweet it!) Simply by entering their utility account number, customers can instantly select from the program offerings available to them, sign up for energy audits, order energy-saving product kits, and enroll in programs – all at their own leisure through our self-service web portal. And thanks to our partnership with EnergySavvy, customers can even perform self-assessments online (either before or after using Efficiency Contact) to access program offers.
Not all customers will value the self-service route. Sometimes there’s no replacement for a helpful customer service representative. But having the option to take the self-service route can make the difference for many customers. In fact, I recently visited a grocery store that did not have a self-service option and was a little put off. Oh well, you can’t call them all.
Technology Product Manager
Eric Wall possesses a unique balance of visionary thinking and pragmatic rationalism. This nature has made him the go-to technical guru for both his team and clients. He supports utility programs’ goals and upholds customer satisfaction by building and managing critical technologies and strategies. He is always searching for more efficient ways to streamline processes and alleviate end-user pain points. Eric holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has earned certifications in energy management, demand side management and engineering.