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As the Director of Member Experience at Arcadia Power, I love talking about my job, my team, and all that we do for our members because I truly believe that we’re the best in the industry. We put a great deal of consideration into our work, right down to the name of our department: Member Experience.

Early on, we thought long and hard about what we would call the function that many businesses refer to as “customer service.” Those words — customer service — feel so transactional; they may be fitting for a company that’s, say, selling chairs online, but not so much for a company focused on building a supportive community around clean energy.

We wanted a name designed for a group of people working to make change together. Member Experience reflects the value we place on creating these long-term relationships.

The Member Experience team is large, and it’s always growing so that we can support our members in the best possible way. We all work here in our Washington, D.C. office, and the department is divided into two teams: the member accounts team monitors everything on the back end (like timely and accurate billing support) and the front-line staff monitors everything on the front end, answering phone calls, emails, and chatting with support members directly.

And then there’s my job, which is to ensure that everyone on my team is supported so that they can best serve our members. If the team isn’t getting what they need, then the system isn’t working.

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One of the things that distinguish our Member Experience team is the emphasis we place on education. We have to be able to pass knowledge onto our members in an enthusiastic and digestible way. Let’s face it: the energy industry is complicated. It’s confusing. Most people sign up for their utility and call it a day. When it comes to wind and solar energy, it can feel like you need a degree in engineering to understand how it all works.

The Member Experience team learns how to break down that information so it makes sense to our members. It helps that everyone on the team is also a member of Arcadia Power, so we know the business from all angles. Not only can we explain to you what your bill says and why it says it, but we can also clarify why solar and wind are important, give tips on how you can decrease your energy consumption, and talk about ways you can make an impact. It’s not uncommon for us to spend an hour on the phone with a member.

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We’ve also worked hard to create a safe and open space where everyone is comfortable being themselves. We all come from different walks of life in terms of education levels, age, family histories — it’s a melting pot. I love that about us, and everyone is encouraged to bring that personality, experience, and voice to their job. Monique speaks like Monique. Joe speaks like Joe. Fernando speaks like Fernando. But what Monique, Joe, and Fernando all have in common is this: they’re smart, they’re dedicated, and they want to make an impact. There are no robots at Arcadia Power.

To make sure our members are getting what they need, we send surveys asking for input on how we can better serve them. On the job, the team goes through a quality assurance process to help them be their best. During team meetings and forums, we encourage everyone to speak up and share what’s on their mind.

We believe that each and every exchange with a member is an opportunity to create a community together. We’re not here to badger you or sell you anything you don’t need. We love to educate.

We also talk about our own talents to inspire others. For example, we have a woman on our team who can answer nearly 70 emails in four hours. She’s a rock star, so I asked her to share her secret during a meeting. That’s a win on a couple of different levels: she gets props for doing a good job, and her peers are more likely to want to emulate what she’s doing than they would be if they were being talked at by a manager.

If it sounds like we’re obsessed with Member Experience, that’s because we really are. We understand that people sign up for Arcadia Power for different reasons. Some want to save on their energy bill. Others want to save the planet. Many want to do a combination of both.

We believe that each and every exchange with a member is an opportunity to create a community together. We’re not here to badger you or sell you anything you don’t need. We love to educate. We’re happy to sit on the phone with you so you feel comfortable. We’re here to support you, because we know that our reward for doing a good job is the impact that we all make, together, for a brighter future.

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Dan Spar

Dan Spar is the Director of Member Experience at Arcadia Power.

Washington, DC