Ask Sherry Horvieth why Walton Gas is consistently a consumer favorite among natural gas marketers in Georgia, and her answer comes quickly.
“We are a different kind of gas company because we put our customers first,” says the company’s director of consumer services.
Sherry should know. She’s the driving force in setting a service standard and culture that consistently sets Walton Gas apart from the rest.
“We go above and beyond …”
“We treat all of our customers as if they own the company,” she said. “We go above and beyond to make sure our customers — no matter where they live in Georgia — are taken care of.”
The customer service professional says this approach runs contrary to the industry standard.
“There are some large companies in this business, serving customers in multiple states, that place a priority on marketing and sales. We get it; that is important,” she said. “Our approach is a little different, however. Our number one focus is on improving the customer experience. We want to be easy to do business with.”
She recalls what it was like in 2001 before Walton Gas was formed. The deregulated natural gas market was new in Georgia and many large, out-of-state providers were battling for a share of the market. Too often, consumers were falling victim to unscrupulous marketing tactics.
“People struggled with the slick marketing, big promotions and bait-and-switch gimmicks that made offers hard to compare,” Sherry said.
Georgia consumers needed a provider they could trust.
Georgia consumers needed a natural gas provider they could trust. Walton Gas filled that need.
“Our priority when entering the competitive natural gas market back then was to take care of customers — and that’s never changed in all these years,” she said.
“We win by being straightforward with customers, communicating well and doing the right thing.”
Local service you can trust
Sherry has worked a combined 37 years for Walton Gas and its parent company, electric cooperative Walton EMC. From opening new accounts to troubleshooting unusual challenges, she’s done it all — and learned plenty along the way.
“Having experience in many different departments here at Walton has better equipped me to handle any issue that arises,” she said. “These skills allow me to provide excellent customer service.”
Now she’s passing along some of that knowledge to the team of Walton Gas customer care agents. She manages a 40-person contact center and personnel at three walk-in offices serving Walton Gas customers.
She takes great pride in working alongside a dedicated team of customer service professionals who all share the “Walton Way” approach to the business.
“No matter how you choose to communicate,
you’ll always deal with a fellow Georgian …”
“We all live here, and we only serve customers in Georgia,” she said. “You can call us, email us or walk right into the office and talk to us face to face with your questions or concerns. No matter how you choose to communicate, you’ll always deal with a fellow Georgian rather than a computer or someone in another state or at an offshore call center.”
Sherry believes every encounter is an opportunity for a Walton Gas employee to create a positive customer experience.
“We take every interaction personally. We listen and try to understand customers’ concerns — and we keep our word,” she said. “We aren’t perfect; when we make a mistake, we always make it right.”