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Albemarle will conduct phone survey

Although very few (if any) citizens enjoy call center solicitations, these are, on occasion, necessary and helpful in gathering feedback and statistics for planning purposes.

Albemarle, in conjunction with ElectriCities and Great Blue Research, will reach out to its citizens this spring to gather opinions from residents and business owners regarding the city’s electrical service, communication preferences and perception of new strategic initiatives.

Albemarle Customer Accounts Manager Scott Hopkins appeared before City Council on Monday evening to provide information and answer questions regarding the survey that will be conducted beginning March 1.

“I’ve had the privilege to work with ElectriCities on this,” said Hopkins, who said the survey, conducted by Great Blue Research, will continue through May, after which a summary of results will be compiled.

“This data will be placed in a final report that will come back to our staff in the July-August range,” he said.

“The goal is to reach out to around 200 residential customers and 40 commercial accounts,” said Hopkins. “Survey questions will include opinions on overall satisfaction with our services, trust in our services, best ways for us to contact customers (social media, phone, text, postal mail, e-mail, etc.) and best ways for customers to interact with us on complaints or questions about a bill or a disconnect…we just want to get a general idea of where we are going with this.”

In response to a question from Councilwoman Martha Hughes regarding funding, Hopkins noted the survey cost is being paid by ElectriCities.

“We live in a time right now when people do not like marketing calls,” Mayor Pro-Tem Martha Sue
Hall said. “Lots of people don’t have home phones any more, and many more won’t answer if the call looks like some marketing call.”

“It’s a survey, not a sales call,” said Hopkins, who noted Great Blue Research is approved by the Federal Communications Commission to gather information.

“But, if an individual answers and says he or she wants to be added to a ‘do not call’ list, they (Great Blue Research) will be glad to do that,” he said.

According to information provided by Hopkins to the council, customers with caller ID will see the name “GreatBlue” displayed when they receive a call. Those with number-only versions of caller ID will see the number 860-740-4000, or a variation of it (4004, 4006, etc.) Calls will be placed at random.

“This survey will be vital in helping us understand customer concerns and priorities, and will help guide us in making decisions that best reflect the goals and needs of customers,” added Hopkins.

If customers or business owners have any questions about the survey, they should contact Great Blue Research at 860-740-4000, or City of Albemarle Customer Service at 704-984-9615.