Put the Customer at the Centre of Everything

Back in 2011, Hydro Ottawa created its five-year Strategic Direction.

It didn’t seem revolutionary at the time, but in identifying our four priorities for the future, we understood that placing a high priority on the customer was fundamental to the success of our company. Certainly Financial Strength, Organizational Effectiveness and Corporate Citizenship are all critical areas for our business, but our focus on Customer Value is really the heart of our direction. And customers are really the heart of tomorrow’s utilities.

To achieve our priorities, Hydro Ottawa strategically identified that it needed to put the customer at the centre of everything we do. Hence my title, Chief Customer Officer, is intentionally aligned with this mission. Understanding and responding to the customer’s needs and expectations—for service quality, cleaner energy, and greater control over the management of energy costs—are key to Hydro Ottawa’s continued success in an evolving electricity landscape. As a self-identified ‘utility of tomorrow,’ we know the customer value we provide ‘up to and beyond the meter’ will ultimately drive and influence all critical areas of our business.

Having just launched our new 2016-2020 Strategic Direction, that focus on Customer Value hasn’t budged. In fact, its importance has amplified and strengthened. The need to engage and integrate customers is becoming more evident as we look to the future and our ability to be flexible in our industry and in our business lines. With that comes the need to bring customers along on the journey and recognize that they are not all the same.

That means listening and genuinely caring about the same things they do. We’re journey mapping, analyzing and improving our 50 available touchpoints so customers can reach us easily and via the method they prefer; we’re demystifying the electricity system by using plain language to improve customer literacy and education; and we’re adapting and tailoring our business to the specific needs of our customers by seeking their input on business decisions that will affect them.  This translates into improved leadership and governance that is trackable through performance metrics.

Unlike any time in our history, we are actively and regularly seeking customer feedback. From interacting casually with our customers daily on social platforms, to formally asking customers for their input on our Conditions of Service, our rate applications and even seeking their opinions on what they’d like to see on their bill; implementing contributions from customers’ shows we’re listening. The goal is to make them feel that they are at the centre of everything we do. Because they are.

Read Hydro Ottawa’s 2016-2020 Strategic Plan here