It’s so rare that I read a raving positive review of a utility company. I don’t remember the last one.
It’s even more rare that I write one myself. I don’t think I ever have.
But last week, during the snow storm, NStar totally nailed it for me. We had a power outage, and I wanted to recap the sequence of interactions with them. Thank you, NStar, for doing a great job here.
The power went out at home. I tried the circuit breakers and such with no luck. I didn’t know NStar’s number off the top of my head, so I Googled it on my mobile phone.
I immediate found their NStar Restoration Efforts web page, the first result for the Google query “NStar power outage” — good SEO! The page was OK, not amazing, but it had the phone number to call right there in bold letters: 800-592-2000.
So I called, and an automated machine answered. The options were easy to understand and follow. I picked the “I don’t have power” option. NStar knew my address from my phone number, since I am a customer, and asked me to confirm with a simple “Yes” or “No” if that’s the address I’m calling about. I said “Yes” obviously.
It said, “OK, we have recorded this outage.” At this point I didn’t really believe they’d do anything. But, to my pleasant surprise, a few minutes later I got a call back from that number! I picked it up, and an automated message told me a crew had been dispatched and should be there within X minutes. How awesome is that?
But wait, it gets even better! Surely enough, about an hour later, I hear a truck roll outside, and it’s an NStar truck. About 10 minutes after that, I get another call from the NStar number. It’s again an automated message telling me their crew is working on the issue and the estimated time for repairs is Y hours.
This is getting amazing. I’m loving NStar right now. Frequent status updates are like an addictive drug, in a positive way. I can use the information to plan what to do, e.g. take a nap.
After a while longer, I don’t remember exactly how long, the power comes back on. I’m now a fairly happy customer. But it gets even better!
A few minutes after the power comes on, I get yet another call from the NStar number. This time the automated message asks me to confirm that I have power, i.e. that things are resolved to my satisfaction. I said yes, and they had a brief automated thank you message.
Really nicely done, NStar. Automated, timely, frequent updates, easy usability, that’s hard to beat. I’m impressed.