Active Listening for Easier Customer Service

These days, customer service is much more of an art than a science. Good customer service requires the agent to possess a variety of personality traits and skills. Some of those include friendliness and empathy. But what is the one customer service skill that shouldn’t be overlooked? Active listening.

Active listening is about more than hearing what the other person is saying and firing off an answer. It involves using all senses to perceive both verbal and non-verbal cues, digesting those indications, and then responding appropriately. For a lot of people, authentically and effectively engaging in active listening can be a challenge. If you think your team can improve in this area, we may be able to help with these five tips for active listening for customer service.  (more…)

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Dogs on Customer Property: Keeping Technicians Safe

For thousands of years, domesticated dogs have essentially been members of the family, providing unconditional love and companionship like no other animal. Despite the historical significance of “man’s best friend,” dog behavior isn’t always predictable. Unfortunately, many utility workers have learned this the hard way over the years. Still, there are plenty of things utility companies can do to keep Rover at bay and their technicians safe while working. Here are a few essential ways to prepare your field technicians for working with a dog on the premises. (more…)

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Technology’s Impact on Customer Experience

Predictions around customer experience (“CX”) technology spending are soaring. In fact, International Data Corporation has already said it expects spending in this space to reach $641 billion this year. So, why the push from the s0-called CX movement? Because statistics show that more than 75% of customers expect companies to understand their needs. And as one customer experience expert and Forbes contributor once wrote, “Companies don’t throw money at things that don’t work.”

For many businesses, the path to get the most out of customer experience is through the use of technology. Looking for some ideas on how tech tools can improve your customer experience efforts? Read on as we detail a few of our favorites.


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How to Keep Employees Engaged and Enthusiastic in the Service Space

To say that the last few years have been challenging would be an understatement. We’ve lived through a global health pandemic, navigating daily uncertainty. We’ve navigated changes in how we work and heightened safety protocols at work and play. By and large, workforces across the country have made important sacrifices to maintain employee health and productivity.

No matter how resilient we are, every industry has faced the risk of increased stress and even burnout. As a result, companies are readily acknowledging the importance of mental and physical health. Many are putting strategies in place to keep their employees healthy, engaged, and enthusiastic. If you think your workforce could benefit from a similar approach, here are five quick tips for recognizing and preventing burnout. (more…)

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Four Things Today’s Utility Customers Want

“The customer is always right” is much more than just a motto in today’s service economy. For many businesses, including those in the utility industry, it’s an organizational pillar. Tailored customer journeys have gone from nice-to-haves to must-haves as utilities battle both heightened customer expectations and increased competition. In order to deliver those experiences, utilities can tune into their customers’ needs and how to provide the best possible service.

Related: Top Three Benefits of Customer Service Surveys for Utilities

If you’re interested in improving how customers view your utility, read on. We offer up our thoughts on four things today’s utility customers want.


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Differences Between Customer Satisfaction and Customer Experience

The utility industry has witnessed widespread changes over the last two decades. New technology is ushering in a new era of electricity, gas, and water delivery. Technological innovation has also encouraged the creation of new customer service outreach methods. With more service providers than ever before, utilities are doubling down on efforts to ensure their customers stay happy. Two of the most important prongs of that strategy are customer satisfaction and customer experience. Similar in name, they have some distinct differences. To help you better grasp the role that each plays in a utility’s approach to customer relations, we wanted to recap the differences between customer satisfaction and customer experience.


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Why After-Action Reviews Are Important

It’s never possible to over-prepare, because it’s always possible to be taken by surprise. In these cases, the best course of action is to learn from what occurred and try to plan for the next, similar event. After-action reviews turn unexpected scenarios into learning opportunities.

Originally developed by the U.S. Army, after-action reviews are now common in the private sector. They are used extensively by many businesses across a broad spectrum of industries, including utilities. These knowledge-management exercises can help a utility debrief after an event and provide invaluable information for the future. Read on as we dig deeper into the benefits of why an after-action review is important for utilities. (more…)

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City of Santa Cruz Selects Utility Partners of America for Meter Replacement Project

UPA to partner with the city’s water department on the replacement of nearly 24,000 meters

GREENVILLE, S.C. November, 2021 – Utility Partners of America (UPA), a leading provider of project management, construction management, operations, maintenance and professional services for utilities and energy cooperatives, announced today the awarding of a contract for the City of Santa Cruz Water Department’s meter replacement project.

UPA will be responsible for all aspects of replacing nearly 24,000 meters for the department, which produces and delivers water to nearly 100,000 people throughout the city of Santa Cruz, unincorporated Santa Cruz County and parts of the city of Capitola. UPA is expected to use local labor, hiring approximately 10 employees to complete the 15-month project.

“We’re honored and delighted to be selected by the City of Santa Cruz Water Department for their meter replacement project,” said Steve Rudd, Vice President, UPA. “The city did its due diligence, not only in analyzing and justifying the need for new infrastructure, but in selecting a partner in UPA that specializes in efficient and effective meter replacement.”

The decision comes after a thorough feasibility study conducted by a third-party engineering firm on behalf of the city uncovered several key findings to support a complete overhaul of all existing meters.

Because UPA has experience and a proven replacement process, proper field installation tools, and an effective training plan in place, the company is primed to replace the aged meter population quickly, efficiently and at the lowest possible cost.

The City of Santa Cruz Water Department is just the latest utility to turn to UPA after facing the steep challenge of replacing aging meters with more advanced and reliable infrastructure. After working with utilities for more than two decades, UPA has positioned itself as an authority and expert in meter services, including installation.

For more information on UPA, visit


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Why Your Utility Needs A Contingency Plan

Utility emergencies are inevitable. Whether it’s the result of a natural disaster like hurricanes, tornadoes, aging infrastructure, or just plain bad luck, providers cannot predict the next emergency. You can better prepare the company though for the next time disaster strikes using procedural planning measures. Time is always of the essence in an emergency. Any emergency is amplified when the dangers of electricity, water, or gas are added.

Failing to prepare properly for emergencies could be nearly as catastrophic as the event itself. If you haven’t prioritized emergency planning, or if you think you’re due for an update, read on for more information on a few top tips on creating contingency plans for utility emergencies.


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