Improving Customer Service from the Ground Up

Cutting the ribbon to officially open the renovated Building 0 at the Akron Customer Contact Center are (l. to r.): Gary Grant, vice president, Customer Service; Tonya Gulley, supervisor, Customer Contact Center; and Greg Hussing, director, Customer Management.

September 14, 2018

Project Update

Renovation work continues at the Customer Contact Center in Fairmont, W.Va. Upgrades to the center include new ceilings, wall coverings and carpeting, refurbished restrooms and LED lights. In addition, new HVAC and fire suppression systems are being installed. Contractors currently are focused on the first floor, and the third floor will be worked on next. Renovations to the second floor have been completed and include new workstations and coaching areas.

Renovation work is expected to last until spring 2019. During construction, about 100 employees are working in an office building on NASA Boulevard in the I-79 Technology Park. The building is near the Mon Power Regional Headquarters.

FirstEnergy’s customer service representatives (CSRs) assist customers with a variety of issues, including billing inquiries, collections and service connections. During storm restoration events, CSRs can answer thousands of calls from anxious customers waiting to have their power restored.

To help CSRs continue to provide excellent service, the company is renovating several of its Customer Contact Centers. According to Rick Schroth, general manager, Customer Contact Center, a quality working environment for employees is a key to business success. “When employees are happy at work, they are more engaged, have better attendance and remain at the company longer.”

To celebrate the enhancements made at the facility, a ribbon-cutting ceremony recently was held in Building 0 at the Akron Customer Contact Center in Ohio.

“The completed renovations were implemented to modernize the building’s infrastructure, so it can be a viable asset for many years to come,” continues Rick. “Although the changes are physical, they were made with the well-being of our CSRs in mind.”

Some of the enhancements made to improve the working environment for CSRs include:

  • New workstations with sit/stand desktops.
  • “Go to” rooms that can be used during breaks for privacy or to make personal calls.
  • A larger training room and a video conference room.
  • Air exchanges – part of the new HVAC system – that supply clean, healthy air.
  • Coaching rooms, where supervisors can monitor customer calls to provide guidance.
  • Refurbished breakrooms, café area and outdoor patio.

CSRs are getting used to their upgraded work area and like the new amenities. According to Senior Customer Service Associate Kristi Martin, “I really love my new work environment. It feels safe – and every care has been taken to make sure I have what I need to be an effective employee. I can sit or stand, I have privacy in meetings with my supervisor, and there are even quiet spaces to clear my head or handle personal business.”

“We put a lot of thought into this renovation project and incorporated concepts we observed during visits to customer service centers at other companies,” adds Rick. “Our call center agents are on the front lines with customers every day. We want them to have a comfortable environment that makes them proud to work here.”

To help keep Contact Center employees comfortable at work, FirstEnergy installed new workstations, so CSRs can sit or stand while talking to customers.

Newly refurbished meeting rooms provide a bright, welcoming environment for employees to share ideas and get work done on projects.

Contact Center employees can bring their own lunch or choose from several available food items in the newly renovated café.

Customer Service Assistant Yuvraj Aujla makes a phone call in one of Building 0’s new privacy areas for employees.