Peace's Energy System to Ease Customer Services Processing with Web-Based
Customer Management Linked to IVR and CTI; BC Gas Positioned to Serve
Regulated Markets Now, Deregulated Markets in Future
ATLANTA, GA-May 16, 2000 -- Peace Software today announced that BC Gas Inc., a leading provider of energy and utility services in Western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest, has deployed Peace's Energy system to provide interactive web-based customer information services in the interior of British Columbia, Canada.
With the installation of Energy, over 250,000 utility customers in BC's interior are able to view billing and consumption information, request interactive customer service, and view other information about their accounts over the Internet. Customers will benefit by having more timely and direct access to their account information, and BC Gas is better able to service customers efficiently and more comprehensively with the new Energy system. The roll-out of these services follows a successful pilot project just last year in Prince George using Peace's Energy product; BC Gas plans to use the new system to service an additional 500,000 residents and commercial customers in metropolitan Vancouver, early in 2001.
New product features in Energy, Version 5.3 were deployed for the first time in this BC Gas implementation, enabling web-based access in call center operations for more accurate customer service and quicker training of the Customer Service Representatives (CSR's). Specifically, Energy's unique browser user interface (BUI) is very intuitive and enables CSRs to access the system by a means consistent with the web browsing interface to which they are already accustomed.
"The rapid take-up by our end-users of Peace's Energy product is unprecedented in the history of large CIS projects," said Michael Sharp, senior vice president of Residential Customers, BC Gas Utility. "We have been able to bring 250,000 customers online very smoothly and our service levels in the call center were back to pre-cutover levels by the end of the first week of operations."
Although BC Gas is currently using Energy to address the Canadian regulated market, the installation of Energy allows the utility to be ready to address the anticipated deregulation of the gas commodity in British Columbia by late 2001. "With the deployment of Energy, BC Gas will receive ongoing competitive business advantages and improved operational efficiencies," said Patrick Lloyd, senior vice president, Business Technologies & Support, BC Gas Utility. "The Peace Energy product enables us to effectively service both residential and commercial customers with immediate, 'always-on' web-based service, is already starting to improve the quality and response times of our customer service, and makes the delivery of our services very cost-effective."
Peace Software and BC Gas have moved beyond the more traditional client/supplier relationship and are working together as partners to implement a significant program of business and system change in customer care at BC Gas. "Peace Software has been an excellent partner for BC Gas; they have some very talented resources and displayed a tremendous commitment to our company," said Lloyd. "We recommend the Energy product and Peace Software for participants in both regulated and deregulated markets."
"We've had an incredible transition from our 20-year old, Unisys-based, customer information system (CIS) to Energy, with no interruption in service, a less than 0.2% billing error rate, and an overwhelmingly positive response from our customer care (call center and billing department) employees," said Fiona Taylor, Director CustomerWorks, BC Gas and Program Director for BC Gas's implementation of Energy. "Easy access to and more graphical representation of information, the on-line knowledge base, a strong business process focus, and dedicated resources from both BC Gas and Peace Software were key factors in this success."
Utility companies are turning to the Internet in order to service customers more effectively, as competition increases through deregulation of the industry throughout Canada and the U.S. Energy offers advanced customer management and billing functionality for deregulated environments, including integrated enrollments, settlements and profitability analysis, all driven by a browser-user interface offering 3-D views of the data. The product serves large-scale, competitive energy retail organizations with an e-business strategy.
BC Gas Links Energy Version 5.3 to IVR, CTI Operations to Improve Customer Service
The BC Gas implementation of Peace Energy Version 5.3 is the first full-scale production deployment of the product. Version 5.3 contains new usability features, tested and certified by an outside firm, Human Factors, as well as support for industry standard technology for improved scalability, open access and object-oriented design such as Sun's Enterprise Java Beans, CORBA, BEA's WebLogic server and XML.
BC Gas has linked Energy Version 5.3 with its interactive voice response system (IVR) and provided computer-telephony integration (CTI) features in order to streamline customer service. For example, when BC Gas customers enter their account and pin numbers in the IVR system, their account information is automatically retrieved from the database and displayed on the CSR workstation, saving time and streamlining information transfer. Moreover, an innovative business-rules based Intranet offers CSRs web-based access for call center operations, greatly improving access to information and overall response times. BC Gas customers have the option of using web-based or IVR-based self-serve options, for maximum flexibility. For example, customers can enter their own meter reading data via the web or through the IVR system, a feature of great benefit to rural customers.
"Peace Software is committed to providing stable and advanced technology to help our customers compete in regulated and deregulated utility markets worldwide," said Brian Peace, CEO and founder, Peace Software. "Peace first innovated in utilities software with a browser-driven solution instead of traditional client/server models; with the BC Gas implementation, we've further advanced the state of the industry with integrated web-based access for call center operations, based on established business rules. With a