In an era when utilities are dealing with opposing trends – aging infrastructure is increasing the risk of outages, yet members’ expectations and standards have never been higher – technology upgrades can help providers keep service levels and customer satisfaction high.

What are the most important OMS features?

If your organization has not yet implemented an outage management system, you may be missing an opportunity to drastically improve your responses to interruptions.

The following are a few of the key traits of a modern OMS:

Outage location pinpointing

One of the most essential parts of reducing outage durations involves finding the source of the problem quickly and sending teams to the correct point. With real-time outage data, the OMS can put together a map of where problems exist. By connecting seamlessly with geographic information systems, the locations of interruptions can be plotted on detailed maps. Field crews and office personnel both know exactly where problem areas are located and can formulate their responses accordingly.

Mobile access from the field

Once linemen know the location of an outage, they don’t have to rely on radio communications with the office to find their way to the issue – OMS tools with customized mobile apps allow field crews to access the system on their tablets and smartphones, constantly receiving updates about the status of an outage. Then, once they’ve resolved an issue, these personnel can update the service ticket from the field, ensuring every stakeholder knows the status of the equipment. After the outage, managers and linemen can use the OMS to remotely check infrastructure to ensure it is still working.

Connection with customer communications systems

The customer service component of dealing with an outage is enormously important. Up-to-date OMS tools connect directly with member-facing systems, including interactive voice response systems and mobile apps, to enable communication between customers and the utility. When people are able to report outages in their areas – and get relevant automated responses to simple questions – members won’t feel disconnected and uninformed during a service interruption.

Why implement an OMS?

The presence of an OMS can make a stark difference in your organization’s response to an interruption of service. Better restoration times will please customers, while improved communication with linemen will help these personnel stay efficient and safe while performing their duties. An optimal OMS integrates seamlessly with your other core technologies such as the customer information system, ensuring data can flow smoothly between solutions and there is no time wasted on data lookups or manual entry.

When customers call in to report an outage, the type of response the utility can muster will determine those members’ feelings about the company. At these high-pressure times, it pays to have a reliable OMS in place. The software will help coordinate every aspect of the response, from customer outreach to the movements of linemen in the field. If your utility embraces such a system, you can use the data flowing through the modern smart grid as a means to reduce service restoration times.

Check out DataVoice’s customer success stories to find out how utilities have improved their offerings through technology deployments.

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