DTE Energy Customer Story - Hero Image
DTE Energy company logo

DTE Energy transforms customer service to earn loyalty and reduce case duration by 38%

DTE Energy
Company Size
10K+ employees
Detroit, Michigan
Featured Product
employee satisfaction score 
reduction in case duration 
reduction in contact center attrition 

The Challenge

DTE Energy is one of the largest energy companies in the United States, serving 450 communities and some 2.3 million residential and business customers.

Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, the diversified energy company is committed to being "best in the world, best for the world." In the past few years, it has greatly expanded its digital channel capabilities to meet the needs of today’s customers. It also hired Dawn Hayes as Director of Customer Service, Strategy and Operations. 
Hayes took the company’s digital transformation a step further. When she arrived, the company was facing several challenges. Its contact center attrition rate was well over 40% annually, and it was difficult to attract new talent. The existing customer service team was ill-equipped and struggling to meet its SLAs. Hayes quickly engaged with the company’s workforce at every level, reviewed employee feedback and read through reams of historical customer service agent performance data to glean insights. To transform DTE’s contact center into a best-in-class operation, Hayes’s prioritized improving agent and customer experience as well as operational efficiency. Her goal was to do this while also reducing the company’s overhead. Hayes looked for a technology solution that would help her meet three main objectives that she identified:  

  • Reduce the cost to serve DTE customers and business partners 
  • Increase operational efficiency of the contact center 
  • Improve both the customer and agent experience  

The Solution

Hayes implemented Sprinklr Service from Sprinklr’s unified customer experience management (Unified-CXM) platform.

DTE Energy - Solution Image

To stabilize the business, it was important to motivate the team and help them drive results, which would ultimately deliver a positive customer experience. Hayes shifted the way DTE operated, implementing new initiatives at the grassroots level. This included changes in vendor management, investing in leadership training — and attracting and retaining quality talent.

Attracting and retaining quality talent

Hayes wanted DTE leaders to be seen as subject matter experts in their fields, particularly those in workforce management, vendor management and social media. DTE invested in training that would empower these leaders to operate independently, when needed, and guide their teams in the right direction. 

Also, most of the company’s turnover occurred during the new hire period, which called for a more effective onboarding system. They set up an onboarding team to help new hires better transition from the training environment to the production floor. The team hired almost 400 new employees over an eight-month period, with a heavy focus on growing the support structure. Continuous improvements were made in the onboarding process over the year, using feedback from the new hires, which helped reduce turnover and retain many of them.

Replacing legacy solutions with Sprinklr

Since DTE was already using Sprinklr for social media management, Sprinklr Service was a natural choice as the company expanded into live chat. 

Since live chat gives agents the flexibility to handle multiple customers simultaneously, DTE decided to experiment with chat on two of their web pages: one that assists customers as they move in or out of a residence or business location and on the billing page. They started slowly, keeping a close eye on customer adoption and chat volume. Two phone groups, from the billing and move-in/move-out teams were trained to handle chats during one half of the day and phone calls for the other half. During times when more volume was expected or when support extended to late hours, social media teams were kept on the clock as a failsafe.

The Outcome

With Hayes’ strategy in place, employee satisfaction scores and customer adoption rates quickly increased.

Employee satisfaction scores in the contact center reached 4-4.5 out of 5 — a record high for the company. Moreover, agents who handle chats or a combination of chat and phone calls, now give higher employee satisfaction scores than those who handle only phone calls. Contact center attrition rates have dropped as well, with a 2.3% average attrition every month in the contact center compared to a previous high of more than 40%. 

DTE has also seen a significant increase in chat volume that corresponds to an increase in customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores. This suggests that customers actually prefer chat over other channels. The customer service team achieved a 38% reduction in case duration; an issue that previously took 12 minutes to resolve on a voice call is now handled in 4 minutes 30 seconds on chat. Even better for the DTE team, less than two percent of people who interact in chat reach out for calls within 48 hours. Some issues may require a follow up phone call; for those, Hayes has registered a four to six percent improvement in call quality.