Putting customers first

During Gale Klappa’s tenure at Wisconsin Energy and its principal utility, We Energies, customer satisfaction has climbed dramatically, the company says. Customer service is critical for all businesses, even a utility, he says.

Gale Klappa
Chairman and CEO, Wisconsin Energy Corp.
231 W. Michigan St., Milwaukee
Industry: Utility
Employees: About 4,250
www.wisconsinenergy.com

“My views about customer satisfaction were formed decades ago in my parents’ shoe store in Wisconsin Rapids. I spent a lot of time there growing up and learned firsthand how important it is – for any business – to treat customers well.

“Because our major operations are regulated utilities with exclusive rights to sell energy in a community, there’s a perception that customer satisfaction does not need to be a priority. In truth, reliability and customer service form the cornerstone of our success.  

“At We Energies, we’ve made it our mission to deliver the best customer care anywhere. We’ve made real progress. We’ve exceeded our customer satisfaction goals every year for the past 10 years. And we strive to continually improve our performance because there’s always room to get better.

“It starts with a commitment to expect the best. It requires teamwork, with each team member playing a critical role and recognizing that cooperation, respect and sacrifice are needed for success.  

“We don’t expect our employees to be perfect, but we do expect a perfect effort. We listen to each customer, thoughtfully respond and follow through clearly – communicating along the way. In any industry, it’s crucial that every customer feel important in every transaction.

“History tells us that companies truly built to last execute their plans with a laser focus on customer satisfaction. Great customer service must be part of the company’s culture.”

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