We’ve all been there. The computerized voice answers your call:
“Listen carefully as our menu options have changed. Please hold. Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received. Our call volumes are higher than usual.”
Compare this experience with placing a call to the Monroe County Water Authority. In 2012, MCWA Customer Service representatives answered 117,714 phone calls. Average wait time was 11.4 seconds.
Not only did customers reach a real person, in most cases their question or concern was addressed without need for transferring the call.
Prompt and personal response to customer needs has long been a hallmark of MCWA, a principle practiced at every level of our organization. As our account base has grown, our commitment to customer service remains steadfast.
Responsiveness, however, is only one facet of this commitment. We continue to seek and implement proactive approaches to help customers, to provide information, and to assist them in choosing among various options.
For example, in the past year we contacted more than 5100 customers, alerting them of higher-than-normal water consumption for their account. The letters advised that, if they were unaware of any reason for such an increase, they check for possible leaks or call Customer Service for assistance if necessary.
We are upgrading our water meters in a program that replaces some 4,000 direct-read and older remote meters with new radio frequency meters. Among many benefits, the new meters eliminate the need for customers to provide a reading for billing, eliminate estimated readings, provide greater accuracy, and offer a means of notifying customers of leaks. A multi-year schedule is in place to convert all our residential meters to the radio frequency variety.
In the past year, we took steps to provide much more – and much earlier – information to customers when work is done on or near their property. By expanding the information on door-hanger notices left at the customer’s residence, we fully explain the nature of the work being done, its purpose, any planned restoration process, and a timetable for completion. A phone number is provided for customers with additional questions or concerns. In addition, a good deal of information about the status of projects – both those completed and those in the future – is now included on our website.
Our reputation for excellent customer service, however, is most directly attributable to our MCWA employees. Their attitude, behavior and commitment are in evidence every day.
It begins with availability, certainly a key to responsiveness. Our plant is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Our facilities people are on the job whenever needed and no matter the conditions, whether it be a sunny, 70-degree weekday, or minus-five degrees at 2 am on a holiday.
While we are proud of our ability to provide clean, safe, affordable drinking water to some 725,000 people, we are equally proud of our ability to treat our customers in a friendly, respectful, and helpful manner. A commitment to outstanding customer service will always be a top priority at MCWA.