Straight from the Tap

Smart Investment Means Smart Service for Our Customers

05/09/2016

At Cleveland Water, we work hard to make smart investments in our technology, our infrastructure and our people because we know that ultimately means better service for you. In the last five years, Cleveland Water has undergone a systematic upgrade, investing not only to improve our system, but our service as well. In 2012, we began a major initiative that would transform the way we do business and significantly enhance the quality of our customer service efforts. Since then we have seen a major shift in the amount and types of calls received by our Customer Service Call Center.

Our Clear Reads Automated Meter Reading (AMR) program utilizes state-of-the-art equipment to allow Cleveland Water to obtain meter readings without stepping onto a customer’s property; but, along with the obvious improved efficiency and cost-savings, our AMR customers now enjoy more accurate and on-time billing based on actual – not estimated – usage. In fact, by the end of 2014 when the bulk of the new meters were installed, estimated bills for AMR meters dropped to just over 1% as compared to 17% system-wide prior to the program’s implementation.

And, while the number of calls coming into our call center each year continues to drop, the types of calls being received are perhaps the most telling.

“Investments in our human resources, training and new technology have led to significant changes,” says Debra Mitchell, Administration Bureau Manager of Customer Account Services. “Since AMR’s launch, Customer Service Representatives have seen a continued decline in the number of calls we receive concerning billing disputes.”

Year-end data from 2015 showed billing disputes dropped dramatically, encompassing only 3.85% of all answered calls – a reduction of more than 55 percent – since 2011.  

“This shows how effective we have become in our business practices at Cleveland Water, and more importantly, it demonstrates how smart investments have paid off,” said Mitchell. “We have invested in the people that work here and we have a talented pool here that work hard to ensure great customer service is maintained.”

Year               Total # of Calls Answered        Total # of Bill Disputes

2015              417,347                                      16,037

2014              419,709                                      22,189

2013              495,277                                      34,485

2012              440,196                                      32,159

2011              455,220                                      36,108

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