Not too long ago, I had the privilege of speaking with Connie McIntyre and Sandra Broughton about their success in implementing a customer experience (CX) culture at AGL Resources. What struck me in talking to them was the perspective they brought to the task.

McIntyre, vice president of CX, and Broughton, director of the CX Business Office, knew their CX journey would be more of a marathon than a sprint. Those of us working in utility CX should adopt this approach. CX is not a flavor of the month; it represents nothing less than a wholesale change in culture and approach. That means it’s going to take both time and consistent effort to get the results we want.

Generally, I’d say that the folks I’ve met and worked with in the CX space are an impatient group. (Let me be clear: That’s high praise!) But in this situation, perhaps our impatience doesn’t serve us well and is something we need to better manage.

Back to the CX journey of McIntyre and Broughton.

It all began in 2007, when McIntyre was appointed the vice president of CX for AGL. Armed with a PowerPoint explaining what customer experience was (and wasn’t), she jumped into her new job by meeting with a wide cross section of staff across the company. “What I learned was that most people did not really understand how what they do in their area ultimately impacts the customer,” McIntyre remembers. “I explained that even if you are in a back-office function like accounting or HR, you impact the overall experience.”

Based on that input, McIntyre and Broughton created a corporate CX vision that resonated with everyone in AGL Resources:

An outstanding customer experience—first time, every time, everywhere.Tweet this!

McIntyre recalls how she sold this vision internally:

I would explain that the ‘first time’ is getting a new meter set and lines run. ‘Every time’ meant that we were consistent each time we had a moment of truth whether on the phone, a field technician in your home, or a visit to our website. ‘Everywhere’ meant consistency as well, as we were in six states at that time [now seven].

A few years and one corporate merger later, the existing CX approach needed a revamp. McIntyre and Broughton set themselves a lofty goal: for CX to become the number-two corporate priority in the newly merged company, following safety.

The path to a CX-centric culture

Connie McIntyre and Sandra Broughton—customer experience (CX) pros at AGL Resources—had a goal to make CX the number-two corporate priority (after safety). To achieve their objective, they took incremental steps, including gathering voice-of-the-employee data, creating a CX intent statement, and developing CX culture messaging.
Graphic of a switchback path with six parts: gather voice-of-the-employee data, create a CX intent statement, form a CX committee, get executive buy-in, develop clear CX culture messaging, and gather voice-of-the-customer feedback and implement metrics

McIntyre and Broughton recognize the E Source CX consulting team as a key to their success. Through a combination of internal stakeholder interviews, research, and best-practice thinking, our consulting team helped shape a three-year CX roadmap with a vision, a mission, guiding principles, foundational pillars, and success measures.

If you’re looking for a place to begin your own CX journey, E Source offers a range of self-service tools to help you evaluate your CX maturity. We encourage you to start with our Utility CX Culture Heath Check (available to E Source Customer Experience Strategy Service members) to assess your utility’s customer experience culture. When you’ve completed the assessment, contact us to see how we can help you.

Contributing Authors

Senior Manager, Customer Experience Consulting

Shawn Silzer has spent more than 25 years working in the energy sector. His cross-functional utility operations experience allows him to deliver...