PECO (Philadelphia) now has a new option for its customers to experience something new – hanging up and having PECO call them back in the same amount of time they would have been placed on hold.
PECO’s customer care centers receive 50,000 to 80,000 customer calls in a week. Most calls are answered in 30 seconds. The utility’s automated system is capable of handling tens of thousands of calls per hour during storms, which allows customers to report an outage, get an estimated time for service restoration, or complete other simple transactions, such as getting an account balance without having to talk to a service representative.
PECO said this new feature, called Virtual Hold, will dramatically reduce wait times on the telephone for customers who need to speak with a service representative for the more complex billing and credit inquiries.
PECO joins many of the nation’s leading utilities, banks, and pharmacies in offering the Virtual Hold service. “This new option hopefully will demonstrate to our customers that we respect their time and we always are looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction,” said Mary Ludford, PECO vice president, Customer Operations. She said PECO’s call center handles several hundred calls per hour and roughly three million customer calls annually. “This technology allows our customers the freedom to do other things while they wait for a service representative to call them back.”
If there is an extended time to speak with a customer service representative, callers will receive the option to stay on line or hang up and receive a return call in the same amount of time as if they stayed on hold. Before the completion of the call, customers provide the telephone number for the returned call and their name. Using recorded information, the service later dials the number, asks for the person who left the message, and connects the customer with the next available service representative