Every day, PGW’s Call Center takes calls from customers who need help sorting through difficult personal situations. Around the city, customers also come in to our district offices and sit right across from our reps before sharing hard-to-hear personal stories. While every customer is unique, and no two situations are identical, every customer is looking to PGW and hoping we can provide a solution.

Some times of year are busier, of course. As spring approaches and the end of “Cold Weather Season” looms, customer service calls and visits can increase dramatically as customers in arrears reach out, fearing that they have put their service at risk and anxious to hear about options. In many cases, falling behind on their PGW bill is a symptom of bigger issues in a customer’s life. This was the situation when customer affairs utility representative Theresa Torres responded to a call from a man who noticed an unexpected $600 increase in his bill.

The man was dealing with a tough situation at home and simply could not afford such a large increase in his bill. It was too late for Theresa to help him apply for a LIHEAP or Crisis grant but she was able to work through some other options with him so he could keep his service and pay off the amount he owed, as he worked to improve his personal situation.

“Customers often call when they feel stuck,” explains David Ryan, manager of call center operations. “Their life is out of balance, problems are piling up and now they have this anxiety about their natural gas service. It stops them from moving on. They just want this issue off their plate and to move on.”

And with the help of employees like Theresa, customers can often move on. In this case, the right combination of expertise and empathy led to the customer asking to speak to a supervisor, to share his compliments and commendations.

This is just one story: our customer service teams listen and work through thousands just like it, every month of every year.

That’s one reason PGW works so hard to streamline and improve the customer experience. The better the system, the quicker the response and the better the resolution. For instance, we’re planning to install kiosks for customers to pay their bill in our district offices. It means customers can take care of basic business without having to wait in line, and it means our reps can focus on helping customers with more complicated issues.

Kiosks are a great way to improve the customer experience – a critical part of PGW’s long-term success. Customers who have good experiences stick around longer, are more likely to recommend us to others, are more likely to pay their bill, and are more likely to contact us early enough for any issues to be dealt with. It’s good for the customer, but it’s also good for this company.