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