Igniting a customer experience mindset in utilities

Arizona Public Service’s GM of Customer Service Operations & Strategy talks about taking her hospitality customer-focused mindset into the utilities sector.

Seth Adler


Hui Wu Curtis, General Manager Customer Service Operations & Strategy at Arizona Public Service, joined us for an insightful panel discussion on the future of digital customer experience a few months ago.

Today she’s back on CX Network in a podcast interview with our host Seth Adler. She starts the conversation by relaying how her perhaps surprising shift from hospitality to energy was fairly seamless because the organisation knew it was time to focus on CX, and she didn’t have to convince them.

“What's more important to us, really is that customer experience, because we don't necessarily want complaints, going to the FCC or other governing board. Because, that really sets the foundation for our ability to go back and build a new rate case, or whatever we're wanting to do in the future.”



Hospitality vs utilities

“I switched from hospitality to energy utility. I think the biggest challenge is… it's like another adventure. Utilities isn't known and high on the bar for customer experience, it’s a pretty low bar. So there’s nowhere but up.

“I think this particular company understands and knows that they're in a monopoly, but they're moving towards alternative energy sources, and so they need to start thinking about the whole customer experience, where they want to be, and to be positioned well into the future.”

Benefit employees or customers

“A lot of times in our reactive world you are chasing every fire. It is very easy to lose focus on things. And so trying to rally hundreds and thousands of people around the key focuses is constantly around customers and employees. Everything that we do – process and improvement, pain points, technology that's gonna help – it has to have the benefit for the employees or the customers. Otherwise, we don't touch it and we don't do it.”

AI in utilities

“I'm generally kind of skeptical with technology. They will sell you a bill of goods, all these woodbine bells and whistles, and then in the end, it doesn't quite work or doesn't really work in our environment. And, so with artificial intelligence, especially in utility, I'm just trying to figure out how we can be more efficient, introducing technology in a stale type of industry that just hadn't change much or budged much in the last umpteen years.”