If it seems like Ashley Aerts is going from one special assignment to the next, it’s because she is.
Fresh off OPPD’s efforts to increase the number of customers using paperless billing, Aerts is on to the next project: enhancing the customer experience.
Aerts is a performance improvement specialist. Her job is to train employees on processes and applications with a clear focus on continuous improvement. But for the foreseeable future, Aerts is working on the Customer Experience initiative along with more than 20 other employees.
“We are looking at the customers’ experience from their viewpoint, from beginning to end,” she said. “We asked our customers about their interactions with OPPD to determine what their pain points could be on those different journeys and then we will develop a road map to address those while capturing cost savings.”
More than 1,800 residential customers were surveyed, along with some small-and medium-sized businesses. The information gathered in the survey is linked with OPPD’s operational data to gain more perspective on their responses.
The heart of the customer experience work, Aerts said, is to identify the areas on a customer’s journey that may be troublesome. The first area of focus, Aerts said, is outages. It’s an area she said is obviously of high importance to customers.
Aerts grew up in Auburn, Neb. and comes from a long line of small business owners and family members, including her grandparents, who still own NAPA Auto Parts stores around Nebraska.
Growing up, her father, Randy Bogle, owned the NAPA just up the street. She remembers fondly jumping on her bike and pedaling down to the shop to visit him before hitting the swimming pool.
Bogle now works as a machinist at Nebraska City Station, and was hired at OPPD 11 months before his daughter. Aerts knew OPPD was the company she wanted to work for. She started at the call center after working jobs in banks, nursing homes and grocery stores. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees while working at OPPD.
“I love the opportunities that come along here,” she said. “There is always a solution that needs to be created. I don’t think the public knows how much direct support goes into serving our customers. They are literally the focus of our conversations all the time.”
Away from work, Aerts and her husband, Jeremy, enjoy spending time hiking at the nearby state parks and chasing their 3-year-old daughter, Molly, around.
The family bought a home built in 1910 in Plattsmouth and finished remodeling it just before Molly was born. Everything had to be redone, she said, though they were able to keep the original hardware, ornate woodwork and big front porch.
Aerts said she is proud to work at OPPD and hopes someday her children have the same reaction to a person landing a job at OPPD that she heard when first hired.
“Wow, you got a job at OPPD? That’s awesome! I want my kids to be saying that, too, years from now.”
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