strategic. PG&E’s customer service has
seen continuous improvement because
of that approach.
The pilot program in Fresno has
been successful. PG&E is working on
expanding similar programs throughout
its territories in California because the
results have made an impact. Through
coordinated efforts to boost communication—to customers and among PG&E
teams—all are truly empowered to provide excellence in customer service.
communication, there was opportunity
to enhance cross-team communication
as well. PG&E thus instituted a series of
cross-training activities between ACRT’s
foresters and Trees Inc.’s tree care workers. The goal was to forge a better understanding of how the other works, for
better coordination and cooperation.
PG&E has always operated under the
guiding principle that tree care workers
and foresters are working toward the
same goal. Reaching that goal can be
done more efficiently when both teams
There are, of course, differences in
the respective work performed by foresters and tree care workers, and therefore, breakdowns in communications can
occur. Such a disconnect between prescribed work from foresters and the actual
work carried out by tree care workers
can lead to a negative effect on customer
When everyone understands each others’
jobs, however, it’s far easier to work more
productively for customers. Job shadow-
ing, combined team meetings and daily
communication are just a few initia-
tives ACRT and Trees Inc. instituted to
improve teamwork. As a result of these
initiatives, while the scope of the work
has not changed, the approach is more
sometimes necessary in areas like trim-
ming, billing disputes and more—is
critical to overall excellent satisfaction.
In addition, industry literature was distributed to provide a credible reference
to utility vegetation management best
practices, as well as visual tools to help
customers better understand the necessary work performed by PG&E and its
partners each day.
CUSTOMER SERVICE IN ACTION
When it’s time to perform the work,
PG&E expects that its customers are
made fully aware of the job that is being
done. It’s the job of PG&E, ACRT and
Trees Inc. to communicate that message
clearly before performing the work as
safely and accurately as possible.
All efforts are made to make personal
contact with PG&E’s customers. That’s not
possible in every case, however, because
many customers are often at work or
elsewhere while foresters and tree care
workers are working on their property.
Knowing these variables, PG&E developed a series of communications that help
enhance overall service and transparency.
These items include door hangers, which
explain in detail how work will be done
on their property, and a business card
which directs customers to a dedicated
Web page where they can learn more
about how ACRT, Trees Inc. and PG&E
can provide excellent customer service.
Further, when crews do come into direct
contact with customers, PG&E and its
partners have created verbiage that promotes customer service excellence. This
same language has been incorporated into
foresters’ voicemail messages and more.
In addition to improved customer
Pat Paternostro Paternostro has been with
ACRT for 22 years, including seven years as
operations manager. He earned an associate
degree in forestry from Pennsylvania State College of Technology and is a Certifed Arborist
Joe Stewart has served 16 years in the industry. He has worked four years as VPM for the
Fresno and Kern divisions of PG&E. He earned
a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Business
Administration from the University of Phoenix.
He is a Certifed Arborist Utility Specialist.
Tony Carlos has been with Trees Inc. for one
year. He has a bachelor’s degree in history
from California State University, Sacramento,
and a juris doctorate from the McGeorge
School of Law. He is a member of The State
Bar of California.