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One Call for Empowerment

By resolving customer requests with one person -- instead of one call, which may require transferring a customer to a specialist or supervisor -- Nicor National satisfies both customers and employees.

This article accompanies Empowering Employees .

Sunday, October 2, 2011
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In 2009, Nicor National, a gas company in Naperville, Ill., developed a program called "OCR" (One Call Resolution), which allows our representatives to issue up to $500 worth of credits to a single customer.

A representative can also move customers to different energy programs based on what is in the best interest of the customer, without needing to check with a supervisor first.

To qualify for OCR, our representatives need to demonstrate competency with all of our computer systems and have a solid understanding of the energy business. Once they demonstrate the necessary skill set and industry knowledge, they participate in a special training program that teaches them how to use more in-depth systems, such as our Energy Enrollment and Customer Service application called Prime; furthers their knowledge of our Energy products; and teaches them advanced negotiation skills.

After our reps successfully complete this training, they receive a recognition certificate and are considered "OCR Specialists."

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We are also in the process of introducing new training for our Warranty team called "First Person Resolution."  Through our "Voice of the Customer" Allegiance feedback and our J.D. Power and Associates survey process, we have learned that customer satisfaction is higher when a customer's issue is resolved by one person versus in one call

This means the representative doesn't need to transfer the customer to a supervisor or escalation specialist, which is much appreciated by our customers. 

Barbara Porter is vice president of business development and customer service at Nicor National, a gas company in Naperville, Ill.

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