SEMCO Energy Gas Company delivers natural gas to approximately 300,000 customers across a broad geographic swath of Michigan. The company’s service area encompasses much of Michigan’s southeastern region as well as a portion of the state’s upper peninsula, and is home to a demographically diverse customer base. SEMCO Energy has been a Selectron customer since 2015 when they replaced their customer-facing Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. The partnership has grown over the years to include expanded functionality to help SEMCO Energy continue to meet the evolving needs of their customers.
SEMCO Energy cycled through several IVR vendors prior to working with Selectron. This began with a simple system for providing account information only, and eventually implemented an IVR that could process payments. However, Part of their ongoing customer service strategy is to expand SEMCO’s customer self- service options to improve the customer experience.
Selectron’s Relay Utility IVR allowed utility customers to look up their account information and pay bills, and provided automatic payment confirmation through real-time integration with SEMCO’s existing customer database. It also provided an updated suite of reporting capabilities that allowed staff to better track payments and system usage. Business Applications Manager Autumn Mlynarski said beyond simply meeting basic functionality requirements,
“[We needed] easy integration with our other systems.”
This is a common sentiment among Selectron customers, and our integration capability with a wide range of backend data sources adds substantial value for our customers.
Since the initial implementation, SEMCO has expanded their IVR with Spanish language prompts to support non-English-speaking customers. The flexibility offered by the Relay IVR allows the utility to respond to evolving customer needs in a cost-effective way. Call Center Manger Sue Trzasko notes
“[The] wide variation in demographics means some customers are less willing to use automated systems while others love them, so any increased functionality and self-serve options are crucial for us because they give our customers the flexibility they need.”
Selectron’s Relay IVR offers SEMCO Energy a solution that provides the functionality they need to support their customers at an affordable and accessible scale. Since implementing the solution, the Utility has been able to push a majority of the inbound calls through the automated system, automating a sizable majority of call traffic and freeing up customer service staff to help customers with specific needs.
Selectron’s customer-focused approach allows SEMCO to get precisely what they need. Selectron worked in January to further streamline the payment process for callers.
Ultimately, the key value is getting customers what they need. According to Mlynarski,
“as callers used the IVR they got comfortable with it and quickly realized it actually helps them accomplish their business quickly and easily.”
This approach to customer relationships is core to Selectron’s business. We build long term partnerships by providing reliable solutions that meet our customers’ needs, and offering stellar support and evolving product functionality to evolve with those needs