September 22, 2015
A communication studies major at Albion College, Thomas Cox, ’16, used his summer internship with Consumers Energy to learn more about customer service.
The senior from Parma, Mich., worked at the utility’s Jackson headquarters and compiled data for a daily report about the operation of smart meters, which are designed to give customers the opportunity to go online to check energy usage, compare bills to previous months, and compare their bills to those of other customers in their area.
“The daily report was a transparency tool to allow for communication if there were problems [with the software],” Cox said. “The report was a good way of keeping the project on track. The director of the department looked at my report every day and appreciated my work.
“Overall, the project demanded taking bits and pieces of information that came in over the course of the day and compiling that data in the form of an e-mail,” he added.
Cox also monitored the collateral material mailed to customers along with their monthly statement, and he can now talk to his mass communication class about his experience on film and TV sets after going along for the taping of commercials. In fact, Cox was used as an extra for a 30-second spot for the United Way.
The emphasis Consumers Energy places on customer communication made an impact during the internship.
“People believe that the big utility wants its check every month,” Cox said. “In reality, the company wants to market how there are more than 250 ways to save money on utilities, its programs for customers to recycle appliances, and how to reduce usage on peak days.
“It’s all about transparency and being up front with the customer,” he added.