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Business Customer Care line: help when you need it

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Want to know which Power Smart programs your business qualifies for? Wondering how to earn credits with the conservation rate (medium or large general service)? Need help understanding part of your electricity bill, such as demand or power factor?

Everything you need is just a phone call away.

The BC Hydro Customer Service line has a special service for business, called the Business Customer Care (BCC) help desk. It's staffed by a team of specially trained agents who understand the specific needs of business customers.

Meet a special agent

Vinay Gounder is one of these "special agents," trained to handle both residential and business calls.

"Business accounts tend to be more tricky. They often have multiple accounts that have various issues," he says. "And for businesses, time can literally mean money. So it's not only important to get the job done, but to get it done in a timely manner."

Gounder says the most common questions customers ask are about how to save energy and lower their bills. Others ask for a breakdown of the various charges on their bill.

The call centre also includes a special desk to field Power Smart inquiries.

"Customers most often call to find out which Power Smart rebates and incentives they qualify for," says Gounder. "And they call if they need help working through the online applications for the Power Smart programs.

"The Product Incentive Program and Power Smart Partners Express are the two most common programs we work with at the help desk. We can answer questions, and if needed, we can help customers fill out the applications over the phone."

Sometimes, we'll call you

The help desk has also been piloting a program of outgoing calls.

"The BCC help desk seeks to offer a high level of service," says Business Team Manager Reid Kennedy. "We want customers to take advantage of the Power Smart programs, to find savings and reduce their energy consumption.

"So, rather than limiting our service to customers calling BC Hydro, we have started to be more proactive and look for patterns and opportunities where it's relevant for us to call out."

Here are two sample outbound call initiatives:

  • Calls to businesses to make sure they were aware there had been a rate change and to help them use Power Smart programs to reduce energy consumption and save money.
  • Calls to sawmill managers to let them know about energy efficiency incentives.

Kennedy and Gounder say the program has been well received, by customers and by the help desk agents.

"We've received good feedback and we have been learning as well," says Kennedy.

Quick tips

For businesses looking for more information about saving energy and money, or about their electricity bills, Gounder offers these tips:

  • Switch to paperless online billing: "It's not only environmentally-friendly, but customers who use it can access historical billing information, going a few years back, within seconds. We can access this information when they call in [to the help desk], but it takes a little longer."
  • Use the BC Hydro website: "The website is especially good for commercial rate information. There are diagrams, guides, and videos explaining billing charges. Most the answers customers are looking for are on the website. As well, some customers aren't aware of the incentive programs we have, but they can keep up-to-date by checking out the Power Smart page of the website every few weeks.

Do you prefer to call or have questions that aren't answered online? The help desk is ready for you. Gounder advises that the response time is faster if you have your account numbers and bills ready when you call.

To reach the business help desk, dial 1 800 224 9376, (or 604 224 9376 from Greater Vancouver). When prompted, select the option for business.