Every company will experience crisis situations, and with the recent descent of winter storm Nemo on the northeastern United States, nearly every company did. Proper client assistance in times like this is crucial, no matter if it's through online customer services or onsite support.
NStar and National Grid have received some praise for the way they responded to the numerous power outages caused by the recent storm. Although the efforts in restoring power and correcting damages were applauded by officials, some customers reported difficulties in contacting their power providers, specifically in regards to notifications. The overall response time was generally up from what had been estimated, and statistics seem to report an improvement over restoration efforts after similar weather disasters.
In fact, both National Grid and NStar were charged millions of dollars in fines for lackluster responses to the various weather disasters of 2011, including Hurricane Irene.
Despite the concerns that remain, Nemo reportedly saw better numbers and more attention to problem areas. Each of these major utility companies had over 1,500 crews in action during the storm, with hundreds of thousands of outages to take care of.
The Boston Globe quoted the Department of State Utilities' chairwoman Ann Berwick as saying that "communications between the utilities, us, and customers, and cities and towns is orders of magnitude better than it was five years ago." At the same time, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley expressed apprehension over the companies' performance, saying that she would wait until an official review process has taken place to comment further.
It is important for providers to maintain consistent customer satisfaction, even when the pressure is high. Providers of online customer services would do well to pay attention to their response times and learn from previous mistakes to avoid a damaging reputation.