The team of trained and dedicated Customer Care Representatives in Tucson Electric Power’s Call Center handles about 6,000 calls every day.
From the basics — like turning electric service on and off — to more complex questions about customer program offerings, energy efficiency and solar power, the team is always ready and waiting.
About 60 Customer Care Representatives handle incoming calls daily, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The emergency line is staffed 24/7, and supervisors are on call around the clock for unexpected needs.
Most rewarding, the representatives say, is being a part of the community, which helps them to provide knowledgeable service to each and every TEP customer.
Florentino Duarte, Customer Care Representative
Florentino Duarte, who is bilingual, knows how to provide Spanish-language customers with both answers and reassurance.
“It can be confusing sometimes, not knowing English. But when customers find out I’m located in Tucson, they become more comfortable working with me,” he says. “I enjoy helping customers get rid of their frustrations.”
Having spent 28 years in Tucson, Duarte, pictured above, approaches customers like family, endeavoring to treat each caller like he would his mother.
Knowing the Tucson community well, Duarte can not only tell customers who are new to the area where they can pay their bills, he can give them the sort of easy-to-follow directions that could only come from a local.
Some customers need Duarte to go through each line item on their bill and explain what everything means. Others want to learn about options such as bill extensions.
“It’s very rewarding to help people and answer their questions. A lot of calls are similar, but each one is different. People have different perspectives and different needs,” he says. “Each time, it is satisfying because I’m able to help them in different ways.”
Amie Lillie, Customer Care Representative
A Tucsonan since she was an infant, Amie Lillie joined TEP’s Customer Care team 10 years ago.
“I’m a people person. I love talking with people and helping others,” she says.
Before joining TEP, Lillie had her power turned off once because of nonpayment, and she didn’t call for help right away because she was ashamed.
“If I knew TEP’s customer service was so helpful, I wouldn’t have felt so humiliated calling in and requesting an extension,” she says. “I identify with all of our customers in one way or another.”
Not every call is easy or smooth, but Lillie relies on her calming demeanor and likes the challenge of trying to satisfy every customer.
“We try to do whatever it takes to help them. It’s a nice feeling to know you handled a call well and the customer is satisfied,” she says.
Lillie worked at Famous Sam’s, as an arbitrator for a collection agency and at another call center before joining TEP. The team atmosphere at TEP, she said, was a perfect fit.
Lillie enjoys TEP’s culture of community involvement and volunteerism. A single mother, she brings her son with her when she volunteers at events such as the holiday Parade of Lights and shopping sprees for children.
“That was me growing up. I was the kid getting help,” she says. “I’m able to give back now, and I love that.”
Cindy Davis, Customer Care Representative
Cindy Davis has always enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of customer service.
“I like people. I’m a person of faith, and I feel like this is my mission to help people,” she says. “It makes me feel good.”
A former bank teller and branch supervisor, Davis also worked in the classified and obituary departments at Tucson Newspapers before coming to TEP 13 years ago.
“I learned patience and listening,” she says. “You don’t have to have an answer for everything. Sometimes people just need to be heard.”
One day, her uncle asked for her resume, which confused Davis at first. But it turned out her uncle and cousin, both TEP employees at the time, knew about an opening in Customer Care and recruited Davis to apply for a job at the company.
Born and raised in Tucson, Davis has family scattered across Southern Arizona, in places like Rio Rico and Nogales, so when answering customer calls from outside Tucson, she feels connected with the community.
“I try to be a problem solver and look at the bigger picture. I just take it one call at a time, and if by the end of the call, I’ve accomplished what the customer wanted, that’s a good feeling.”