Hawaiian Electric Company Saves Customers More Than a Year of Hold Time – in Just Three Months

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Virtual Hold® Software Eliminates Hold Time as High Oil Prices Increase Call Volume

Akron, Ohio — May 18, 2009 — With increased electricity costs due to skyrocketing oil prices and service delays caused by mandatory process changes, the Hawaiian Electric Company Customer Assistance Center experienced both higher than normal call volumes and longer hold times in the latter part of 2008. In response, Hawaiian Electric has implemented a contact center solution from Virtual Hold Technology, LLC (VHT) to help eliminate the frustration of its customers and customer service representatives.

“At Hawaiian Electric, we pride ourselves on our record of excellence in customer service,” said Sylvia Chock, director of Hawaiian Electric’s customer account services division. “The end of 2008 was difficult for us. The higher electricity costs brought more calls from customers understandably wanting information about conservation and ways to manage their bills. Plus the extra process steps added time to each call. Our call volume and lengths became hard for our customer representatives to manage.”

Chock, with 36 years of customer service, found the VHT solution during her own customer service experience with her cable company.

“I called and was given the option of leaving a placeholder and receiving a call back when a cable company representative was available,” she said. “I chose the callback and was pleasantly surprised they called me back when they said they would!”

The positive experience led Chock to VHT and its virtual queuing solution, which touched 55 million customers in 2008. During periods of high call volume, the Virtual Hold® software enables Hawaiian Electric customers who previously had to wait on hold to choose to hang up the phone, maintain their place in the calling queue and receive a callback just as promptly as if they had remained on the line.

“After only three months, we’ve improved our average speed to answer during peak call times by 70 percent. Our customers appreciate being given a choice, and our decision to implement Virtual Hold makes it clear to them that we value their time,” Chock said.

Virtual Hold clients typically see increased customer satisfaction because the technology helps agents provide a positive customer experience. The software helps reduce calls that are abandoned and the need for customers to make repeat calls to customer service centers if they can’t get through immediately.

Reduced customer frustration also leads to improved employee morale.

“Now our customers don’t have to sit and wait on the phone until someone is available to assist them. They can go about their business, and before they even realize it, we are calling them back. So instead of the conversation starting off with a customer venting about waiting so long on hold, the call can start off with the business at hand,” said Jodi Carlson and Vicki Goto, Hawaiian Electric’s call center supervisors. “Instead, we’re hearing positive comments about our choice in selecting Virtual Hold.”

About Hawaiian Electric Company

For more than 100 years, Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) and its subsidiaries, Maui Electric Company, Ltd. (MECO), and Hawaii Electric Light Company, Inc. (HELCO), have provided service to 95 percent of Hawaii’s 1.2 million residents. For more information, visit http://www.heco.com.

About Virtual Hold Technology

Virtual Hold Technology (VHT) is the leading developer of virtual queuing solutions for Fortune 1000 clients. Since its inception in 1995, VHT’s patented, award-winning virtual queuing technology has provided return call solutions focused on enhancing the customer experience for financial services, energy/utility, insurance, telecommunications, cable, wireless and retail corporations such as IBM, Bank of America, T-Mobile, Aflac, AT&T, Banco Popular, Verizon, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Time Warner Cable and AVON. To learn how Virtual Hold’s virtual queuing solutions can help increase customer satisfaction and reduce contact center costs, visit www.virtualhold.com or call 877-886-8187.

Free Interactive Demonstration: 888-412-2214

Experience what your customers experience with Virtual Hold.

Media Contacts
Adrienna M. Frazer
Virtual Hold Technology
[email protected]

Amy Fisher
Padilla Speer Beardsley
[email protected]

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