Saturday, October 27, 2012

City to Ramp Up Utility Bill NonService?

Citizens with concerns regarding their City of San Angelo comprehensive utility bill may soon hear an automated voice when they call.  The city published a request for proposal for a non-customer service solution.

Most companies know that consumers hate their automated phone systems, called IVR or Interactive Voice Response. But they also know that automation makes financial sense.

A company may spend 50 cents to $1 a minute when a representative answers your call compared with 5 cents a minute when an automated phone system does the work, said Paul Kowal, a Boston consultant on customer-service quality.

The City of San Angelo is requesting proposals for an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solution that:

1. Enables customers to process credit card payments over the phone
2. Integrates with our current CIS vendor - SunGard Private Sector
3. Integrates with our current credit card payment processor - Automatic Merchant Systems Inc.
4. Is a PCI Level 1 compliant Service Provider
Currently calls are funneled through our customer service main number and directed to our billing department where the calls are answered as agents are available. The Billing and Receipts representative accesses our cash receipt application and keys the customer information directly.

The City of San Angelo:
Customer accounts - Approximately 35,000 customer accounts
Call volume - Bills an average of 1,750 customers Monday – Friday, monthly
• Host database environment - SunGard Public Sector
• Host credit card environment – Automatic Merchant Systems Inc
• Has four cash receipts agents
Payment call volume - An increasing average of 800 calls per month
Pricing Proposal
Provide a detailed basic unit list needed to install and implement the system.
1. Include your proposed ongoing support and maintenance plan.
2. Include separate pricing for transaction fee model
3. Include separate pricing for convenience fee model

What happens when the city layers an Interactive Voice Response system on top of defective electronic water meters, originally intended to improve customer service?

The daily readings include the amount of water used each hour during the previous day, which will assist the City and residents in researching unusual water usage patterns that may result from leaks or malfunctioning sprinkler systems.

Might it be customer purgatory squared?

Update 5-27-14:  The new system starts Monday, June 2, 2014. 

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