SeeClickFix Offers Solution To Utilities’ Woes
by Lon Seidman | Sep 6, 2011 8:06 am
Posted to: Business/ Economic Development, Media
New Haven’s SeeClickFix might just have a pre-packaged solution to UI’s and CL&P’s communication woes. The question is whether the corporate culture of Connecticut’s utility monopolies could accept a more transparent system of handling customer issues.
There is little question that internal communication channels within both major electric utilities have failed. The reason for this appears to be that their customer service departments do not have access to information used by line crews to report progress on repairs. Further, it appears as though customer service personnel are unable to effectively supply line crews with information from customers. So while data exists in both the internal- and customer-facing sides of the company, it is completely incompatible.
Social media platforms haven’t been helpful either, because the utility companies have put their marketing departments in charge social media accounts. The result? A one-way communication stream that is tailored to the mass media and broad audiences with hundreds of customer complaints piling up unanswered on their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.
The New Haven-based social-media site developed a free reporting platform that helps solve the age-old problem of facilitating effective communication between residents and government on the status of things like pothole repair, graffiti, and other non-emergency problems. With a little bit of initiative from the utility companies, SeeClickFix CEO Ben Berkowitz says the system could be up and running quickly for their customers.
“All it would take is maybe an hour of set-up time to get them in a place where they could enable citizens to report via the web or mobile applications,” Berkowitz said.
Click here to read the full story from CT Tech Junkie.
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Service requests should not necessarily be transparent as there may be privacy or security issues involved (e.g. disabled alarms, walls broken by a tree, unlocked doors). SeeClickFix is amazing for potholes, graffiti, traffic infrastructure, etc - maybe they have figured out a way around this concern. The age of privacy is not dead.
While checking on the storm conditions in New Orleans this weekend where my daughter lives, NOLA the online version of the city major paper had a link to the energy company, Entergy, showing a fairly detailed power outage map of the City with block by block descriptions of outages and what response was taking place - in all fairness not that many outages so not sure what happens with the system if large scale outages occur but this would have been a lot more informative here rather than nothing. Folks also were on Twitter to NOLA about outages who then posted them. I trust Ben will work out kinks in his proposal.
If clickfix doesn’t work for the local city government what makes you think the private sector is going to pay attention. Now that the DPUC has been “reorganized” there is little that can be done without lengthy red tape.
Maybe the Utility companies should fix their own problems.
if the utilities are out, how do I make the complaint, online w/o power?
“if the utilities are out, how do I make the complaint, online w/o power?”
On a smartphone using a free app, or by calling SeeClickFix directly (on a landline or cell phone).