May 16, 2023
Improving customer service is a continuous initiative for Starkville Utilities. With that focus in mind, employees recently participated in training sessions provided by the Greater Starkville Development Partnership to enhance customer service and communication skills.
“Customer service is central to our mission as a utility provider, and all employees are responsible for building a customer-focused culture,” said Edward Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “Training provided by The Partnership was very well received and emphasized skills and behaviors to strengthen our relationships with customers.”
Paige Hunt, director of tourism for The Partnership, led training sessions geared toward administrative and operations employees. The Partnership offers a variety of educational seminars and workshops for the business community.
“As Mississippi’s College Town and a major tourist destination, we understand the value of hospitality and service,” said Mike Tagert, president and CEO of The Partnership. “Starkville Utilities is a great example of where service and business intersect. They value quality customer service, and we are pleased to partner with them.”
During the training sessions, administrative personnel focused on customer interactions in the office environment, including phone and email conversations, while operations personnel concentrated on interactions in the field.
Employees participated in role-playing exercises that placed them in different scenarios, including difficult and emotional interactions, with a goal to create positive outcomes for customers.
“Employees came away with tools and techniques to improve their communication skills, not only with customers but with each other,” Kemp said. “It’s helpful to take a pause every now and then from our normal routines to focus on organizational improvements and make sure we’re being responsive to our customers’ needs and providing excellent service.”
Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.