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Customer Success Story
PowerSouth Energy Cooperative Profile
PowerSouth Energy Cooperative is a generation and transmission cooperative that provides for the wholesale power needs of 20 distribution members.
Business Challenge
• Reliable, unified, auditable recording of telephone and IP Radio Communications • Efficient management access to recordings and related data.
Solution Overview
• Auditable reliability of recording • Protection from liability • Improved management productivity • Improved control of costs and accuracy of communication with customers and field technicians
Significant Benefits
Unified recording by VPI CAPTURE: • 100% redundant 50 channels for IP Radio recording via Avtec IP Console, with H323 metadata capture • 100% redundant 50 channels for Avaya 8800 CM 5.2 system

PowerSouth Improves Service Quality and Accuracy with Integrated VPI, Avtec and Avaya IP Communications and Recording Solution


Power South is a billion dollar company – 70% of our income is related to fuel sales.  Consequently, reliable recording of Energy Control Center’s calls that deal with fuel purchases and sales is critical for our business.  With VPI CAPTURE recording system, we have a peace of mind knowing that every call is recorded and can be pulled up for review or dispute resolution at a moment’s notice.

- Chad Jenkins
PowerSouth Energy Cooperative

Business Profile

PowerSouth Energy Cooperative, headquartered in Andalusia, Alabama, is a generation and transmission cooperative that provides for the wholesale power needs of 20 distribution members — 16 electric cooperatives and four municipal electric systems — in Alabama and northwest Florida.  For 67 years, PowerSouth has remained a trusted energy provider for its distribution members, who provide electric energy to more than 1 million consumers in 39 Alabama counties and 10 Florida counties.  PowerSouth also manages after-hours customer service for energy consumers, serving as a service backup for its smaller neighboring utilities.  Phone and IP radio communications at Power South are handled by 100 employees at the Energy Control Center and Customer Response Center in Andalusia, Alabama.

Challenge

The utilities industry incurs a high level of liability and scrutiny. High-profile utilities companies like PowerSouth handle a large volume of customer service calls – a situation that demands both courtesy and accuracy on the part of contact center employees.  PowerSouth takes high standards for the quality of its service very seriously. Since the utilities industry is heavily regulated, Power South communications are subject to strict periodic Operating Review Audits, necessary for earning certification by a government audit agency.  During the audit process, Power South must provide a proof of recording of all communications with its customers as well as a proof of compliance with government standards – traditionally for telephone communications but most recently also for internal radio communications related to customer services. These standards are at the core of communication protocol developed by Power South for its contact center operators. 

Until the mid-year 2010, PowerSouth used very basic recording technology that differed between their Customer Response Center and Control Center.  There was no provision for redundancy or the backup control to assure reliability. Finding specific recordings to prove compliance or to handle customer complaints required major investment of time and patience. Radio communications were not yet recorded at all.  Something needed to be done to satisfy the latest Government requirements for recording both, phone and radio communications. And the company’s managers needed help with gaining timely, direct access to all types of recordings to gain visibility into communications they were responsible for.

Solution

After discernment with Pruitt Communications, VPI’s Strategic Business Partner, PowerSouth was pleased to implement VPI CAPTURE solution to record and consolidate reporting, search, retrieval and playback of all telephone and radio communications.  “VPI resolved all of our recording challenges and gave the managers direct, Web-based access via the VPI portal,” said Chad Jenkins, Principal Engineer of Telecommunications Services at PowerSouth with relief. PowerSouth now controls the quality and accuracy of its Avaya telephone and IP Radio communications via VPI’s unified recording solution.  IP Radio communications are captured via VPI’s certified software-only Avtec Scout IP Radio integration, eliminating the need for spanning ports or managed switches.  This efficient integration approach saved hardware resources on both, VPI and PowerSouth sides and expedited implementation.  All Scout audio resources are managed on an IP basis by Avtec’s VPGate software gateway. This direct recording integration always results in capture of the entire voice transmission.  What’s more, VPI captures all audio files in a standard, Microsoft-native .wav format with 13.3 kps GSM compression for efficient file management – recordings of both, IP Radio and Avaya telephone communications at PowerSouth are saved in the same format and accessed in a unified manner, via the same interface.

Significant Benefits

In today’s challenging business environment, it is crucial for a utilities company to accurately record 100% of their customer service calls and high priority calls to and from their technicians and other utilities for liability protection and to accurately recreate major incidents. VPI CAPTURE is an affordable, cost effective solution that provided just that; it dramatically improved the quality and reliability of recording telephone and radio communications at PowerSouth Customer Response Center and Control Center.  This solution enables PowerSouth managers to protect their organization from exposure to liability issues, maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction and boost performance and productivity. 

In the words of Chad Jenkins: “We are very happy with VPI’s recording technology and the quality of its implementation.  VPI CAPTURE provides reliable recording of external phone communications managed by our Avaya phone system and Avtec internal IP Radio communications between our service center and field technicians who often risk their lives as they perform service on transformers, cabling, or at end user locations.  Their communications with the service center must follow a strict protocol that has been developed to assure their safety. We can now make sure the protocol is being followed. Customer care managers now have tools to assure accuracy and fair resolution of customer issues or concerns. We are confident that investment into VPI technologies helped us improve the quality and value of our service, which ultimately contributes to our bottom line”.

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