Years of experience
Telnet had its start in the Utility industry in 1999 when Mercury Energy split from its electricity distribution business and awarded Telnet the contract to provide network company Vector with an outsourced contact centre. Our partnership with Vector is still going strong today after more than seventeen years.
Since then, our Utility client base has expanded significantly and Telnet has grown to be the leading specialist provider of contact centre solutions to the Utility industry in New Zealand. As a result, Telnet now provides customer service, business process outsourcing solutions, critical fault and emergency management and technology solutions to some of New Zealand’s biggest names in the Utility space as well as to a number of smaller specialist energy retailers.
The range of interactions we manage today for our Utility clients includes:
- Fault and critical emergency management (electricity, gas, LPG and transport fuels)
- Outage management and communications
- Billing and account queries for electricity retailers including prepaid power customers
- Processing orders and connection requests
- Outbound and inbound sales including lead generation
- Fault messenger services
- Social media management
Handling over one million Utility interactions per year, Telnet is the obvious choice for any New Zealand or Australian Utility company looking for an experienced and proven outsourced contact centre solution specialist.
Trusted by leading brands
Telnet is trusted by some of the leading brands in the Electricity and Energy industries:
- Electrix is a leading provider of engineering, construction and maintenance services to asset owners in the utility, industrial, commercial, resources, and infrastructure sectors. Telnet began working with Electrix in 2008 providing an after-hours dispatch service.
- Telnet has worked with Northpower Contracting since 1999 providing after-hours dispatch services in the Auckland Region.
- Genesis Energy is presently New Zealand’s largest energy retailer and the country’s third largest electricity generator. Telnet works with Genesis to deliver a number of services including after-hours fault management and outbound customer acquisition.
- Bosco Connect is an electricity retailer supplying power to residents of inner-city apartments. Telnet has worked with Bosco since 2007, supplying a telephony platform, fault management and overflow and after-hours customer support services.
- Tiny Mighty is an electricity retailer specialising in supplying power to small towns in New Zealand. Telnet has worked with Tiny Mighty since 2009 supplying a telephony platform, fault management, and an overflow and after-hours customer service desk.
- Mercury Energy is a subsidiary of Mighty River Power. It retails electricity and gas throughout New Zealand. Telnet has worked with Mercury Energy since 2007 to deliver an after-hours emergency service.
- Wellington Electricity was established in 2008 and distributes electricity to 160,000 homes and businesses in the Wellington, Porirua and Hutt Valley regions of New Zealand. Telnet has worked with Wellington Electricity since 2008 to provide a 24/7 outage management and customer service desk.
- OnGas is the gas retail brand for Vector Limited. Their LPG business is the country’s second largest LPG supplier. Telnet has worked with OnGas since 2001 providing an after-hours customer service and fault management service.
- GLO-BUG is Mercury Energy’s prepaid power partner. Telnet has worked with GLO-BUG since 2008 proving an overflow and after-hours customer service desk.
- The Auckland Energy Consumer Trust was set up on behalf of electricity consumers in the area who used to be served by the Auckland Electric Power Board. The AECT remains the majority shareholder of Vector Limited and pays an annual dividend to its beneficiaries. Telnet has worked with AECT since 2003 providing customer services and business process outsourcing services.
- Z Energy is a New Zealand owned transport fuels business with stakes in Refining NZ and Loyalty New Zealand. Z Energy operates over 300 service stations, 100 truck stops, pipelines, terminals and bulk storage terminal infrastructure around the country. Telnet has been working with Z Energy since 2011 providing a complete outsourced contact centre and business process outsourcing service.
Our specialist team
Telnet’s Utilities team is a group of committed and talented individuals who love the challenges and pressure of working in this fast-pasted industry. Because Telnet has a culture of providing our staff with plenty of opportunities for internal promotion, most of our Utilities team began work with us as agents. This means that they have an intimate understanding of the Utilities business processes and the industry as a whole. In addition, their long tenures with Telnet means that they have been able to form strong business relationships with key people within the industry.
Aaron Altments, Utilities Account Manager. Aaron commenced working at Telnet in 2005 and he has worked in a number of roles within our Utilities team where he has gained extensive experience across operations, training, quality assurance and account management. Aaron is responsible for our day-to-day relationships with our Utility clients.
Steve Hennerley, Chief Technology Officer. Steve has been with Telnet since 2003. In his role, Steve ensures that Telnet’s complex infrastructure is managed to ensure the seamless integration of Telnet’s IT systems with those of its clients. Steve has led and grown Telnet’s IT function to the point where Telnet is consistently regarded as one of the most technically competent outsource contact centres providers in New Zealand.
Kelly Tucker, Inbound Divisional Manager. Since 2012, Kelly has worked within Telnet’s Utilities team across a number of operational roles. Today, Kelly manages Telnet’s Inbound and Home Worker agent operation which includes overall operational responsibility for our large Utility client base.
Akshay Prasad, Utilities Team Leader. Akshay joined Telnet in October 2012 as a Customer Service Representative within Telnet’s Utilities team. Over the years Akshay has developed a very strong knowledge of the utilities industry and was promoted to Team Leader in 2014.
When you give Telnet your business, you’ll have the comfort of knowing that you’re working with truly dedicated professionals with long track records delivering reliable, cost effective and innovative solutions to your industry. We’ll care about your business as if it was our own and in true Kiwi style, we’ll always go the extra mile to get the job done well while exceeding your expectations.
Fault and Critical Emergency Call Management
Telnet provides fault and critical emergency call management services, handling more than 650,000 fault calls a year for multiple Utility clients. To support our operation we’ve developed our Utilities Fault Management (UFM) system which integrates with our clients’ core systems to exchange data in real-time.
UFM provides a single, easy to use interface that enables Telnet’s customer service agents across our two contact centres and working remotely to log faults quickly and with minimal training. This gives us the capability to scale very quickly to deal with large-scale outage events while delivering first class service levels to our clients’ customers affected by outages.
Over the last 12 months UFM has enabled us to answer an average of 82% of fault calls within 20 seconds. Achieving these services levels given the number of serious weather events we handled over the period demonstrates our ability to deliver under the toughest conditions.
The key benefit that UFM gives us is that we have been able to reduce the complexity of agents having to be trained in and operate many complex CRM and ERP systems used by our Utility clients (such as Gentrack, Siebel, SAP, etc). Through simple integration with these CRMs we’re able to provide our agents with a consistent user interface to handle fault and emergency calls no matter which Utility client’s customers are calling us. This allows us to focus on the soft skills needed to service the customer rather than the mechanics of operating multiple CRM systems. We have an extensive pool of Utility agents in our contact centres and working from home who are trained to take fault calls using UFM which gives us the ability to rapidly scale our service when required to meet unexpected demand.
UFM has been developed to ensure compliance with the relevant EIEP standards used for system to system communications within the Utilities industry. Fault data is transferred electronically to our clients and their contractors (UFM supports FTP, SFTP, Email, Fax and web service integration) ensuring that jobs get to the right party at the right time.
One of the key challenges during outages is to be able to provide accurate and up-to-date information on developing events to all stakeholders. Telnet’s Outage Management Team provides the hub of Telnet’s fault management service linking together our Utility clients’ key stakeholders, such as the control and operations centre, field staff dispatch and the contact centre itself.
The role of our Outage Management team is to:
- Collect information about faults and communicate it to contractors, clients and customers as quickly as possible
- Update all relevant parties as new information comes to hand
- Communicate with stakeholders through professional notifications and updates; either to meet regulatory requirements or to fulfil our client’s communication policies
- Dispatch and liaise with contractors to locate and resolve faults as quickly as possible
- Upload fault status messages to telephone queues to help reduce call volumes and wait times
- Liaise with emergency services and ensure that emergency procedures are followed
Mobile and SMS solutions
Innovation is key to staying ahead of the game and remaining the preferred choice for our Utility customers. In 2013 we teamed up with Vector to develop a new mobile phone application which can provide over one million Vector customers with access to outage information transmitted from Telnet’s Outage Management systems. This app often receives over 10,000 hits per hour during major storm events.
To significantly reduce call volumes during large-scale outages, we developed a system that allows customers to opt-in to receive outage updates sent via SMS using information captured in real-time by our systems. This approach is aimed at significantly reducing call volumes into the contact centre during large-scale outages. We also provide an SMS service where critical information and ongoing fault status information is sent to clients and their contractors.
Despite there being many channels for our clients’ customers to make contact, the telephone is still one of the most important. Traditionally, fault call management has proved challenging for the contact centre industry because whilst voice call volumes are usually very low, during a fault situation they can scale within minutes to many times normal volumes.
Avalanche call management presents a number of unique challenges for a contact centre; from ensuring appropriate staff availability through to managing technical capacity. Using multi-channel techniques, such as SMS, web, IVR and voice messaging and leveraging the scale and resources of our telco partners, Telnet is able to dramatically reduce the call volumes that need to pass through to a live operator in high demand situations. This reduces wait times and resource requirements and improves the overall customer experience while also reducing our clients’ costs.
Critical to Telnet’s approach is knowing the difference between a caller who needs information (such as a restoration time) and a caller who has information our clients need (such as an emergency or outage cause). Systems, processes and even staff training needs to take this balance into account to provide the most appropriate methods to serve customer demand, even in the most challenging of situations.
Telnet partners with a number of trusted technology and telecommunications providers, as well as bringing our own significant expertise and technology to solve this problem using a variety of methods such as dynamic routing and messaging, cross-channel solutions, flexible workforce and traffic forecasting.
Telnet’s Fault Map is based on Google technology and links into our UFM and Outage Management systems to present a graphical view of known faults and outages overlaid onto a map of the affected area. This enables Telnet to deliver a better customer service to incoming callers as customer services agents are empowered with fault and outage information at their fingertips.
The application is also available to the general public via the Vector website at vector.co.nz. These two uses of the system help to significantly reduce call volumes into the contact centre with a consequent reduction in our clients’ cost to serve its customers along with an improve customer experience.
Telnet continues to work with a number of our clients on how this mapping functionality could be developed further to assist their customers and contractors in their responses to faults.
Fault messenger services
Telnet’s fault messenger services solution intercepts calls from areas where known faults exist and plays automated fault status announcements to callers.
This platform identifies the electricity feeders affected by an outage and constructs a voice message from multiple prerecorded parts appropriate to the geographic area concerned. Callers still have the ability to speak to a Telnet agent, however a large number of callers are satisfied by the automated system and as a result less calls are required to be physically handled by our contact centre agents.
Telnet has been providing its proprietary fault messenger technology system since 2014 where it is used by some of New Zealand’s largest electricity retail companies.