DeKalb improves customer wait for water billing questions

July 22, 20162min1000
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Customers who call DeKalb County with water billing questions are spending an average of 15 fewer minutes on the phone.

“These results show our commitment to respond to our customers’ needs in a timely fashion,” said Interim CEO Lee May. “Our focus on decreasing call wait times and increasing access to payment locations is providing a better experience for DeKalb customers.”

DeKalb County Department of Watershed’s Utility Customer Operations (UCO) has implemented several key upgrades to water and sewer billing operations over the past year to improve customer service.

In 2015, these changes resulted in the number of calls answered within 60 seconds increasing to 67 percent, and year-to-date that number has increased to 70 percent.

The improvement was made by reducing call wait times and increasing the number of calls handled. In 2014, the average call wait time was 17 minutes. That was reduced to 2 minutes and 29 seconds in 2015. For 2016, the current average call wait time is 2 minutes and 18 seconds.

The number of calls handled has increased from 156,299 in 2014 to 366,666 in 2015. So far in 2016, the number of calls handled is 165,103.

In February 2016, the UCO group implemented the “First Call Resolution Initiative.” The goal of this initiative is to resolve a customer’s inquiry the first time – eliminating multiple calls for the same issue.

Additionally, new employee training has been implemented with a refresher course for existing employees that seeks to improve the customer experience, bridge the knowledge gap and minimize inconsistencies in information.

In addition to the customer call center improvements, the group also has increased the number of satellite payment locations from 52 to 97. A list of payments locations can be found at www.dekalbwatershed.com/PDF/authorized_payment_locations.pdf.

“These enhancements speak to the Department of Watershed Management’s commitment to provide excellent customer service to the residents of DeKalb,” said Scott Towler, director of the Department of Watershed Management.

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