Customer Service in a Time of Need

Cathy Carmichael, advanced Customer Service associate, West Akron, is dedicated to answering customer calls. With Customer Service since 2007, Cathy is set to retire from FirstEnergy this month.‚Äč

November 19, 2020

Though COVID-19 has unexpectedly disrupted our lives, FirstEnergy continues to deliver the power our customers rely on to keep going.

In these challenging times, a kind tone, a helpful hand or a compassionate ear can be the difference that brightens someone’s day – and we want to highlight a portion of our critical workforce that does this for our customers the most: Customer Service.

Whether it’s billing, contact center support, quality assurance or online support, more than 1,000 FirstEnergy Customer Service employees are dedicated to meeting the various needs of customers from our 10 electric utility companies in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, West Virginia and New York.

While it varies day-to-day and team-by-team, Customer Service representatives in our contact centers act as the first line of interaction with customers by taking a collective average of more than 30,000 inbound calls on a variety of issues each day.

Due to the pandemic, many customers are worried about how they are going to pay their bill, but our representatives are happy to assist customers with manageable payment arrangements and can provide them with information on needs-based assistance programs. Empathy, active listening and adaptability are essential qualities we instill in our representatives to help customers who are experiencing financial difficulties and in need.

“You can always tell how grateful customers are when you’re able to help them and make a difference in their life,” said Customer Service Representative Scott Kaczor.

As representatives like Scott act as the face and voice of the company, our Quality Assurance Department reinforces those efforts by making sure we followed through on our customer interactions.

“Good customer service is about providing consistent and positive experiences,” said Amanda Helinski, manager, Customer Service Performance. “Quality’s job is to ensure customers get the quality of service that they expect.”

Quality Assurance reviews and provides feedback on interactions that involve customers and their accounts. These interactions include calls to our contact center, online customer inquiries, field visits and billing.

As a result, they can proactively identify opportunities for improvement in our training and processes to ensure customers are getting the best experience possible.

Quality Assurance has identified 240,000 COVID-19-related calls and thoroughly analyzed and provided feedback on about 5,000 of those calls. This work helps us preemptively identify ways to improve how we are assisting customers impacted by the pandemic.

“Our employees are definitely passionate about coming together and helping the customer and each other,” added Amanda. “The team has done such an amazing job in continuing to bring new ideas and support, not only to each other, but to customers.”​​