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World class customer service is often a strategic goal of most forward-looking water and wastewater Utilities. It is the lens for public perception of the entire Utility's operations. Continuous improvements in customer service and public relations can pay immeasurable dividends in the value that the Public places on their water and wastewater utility providers.

Starting with a comprehensive IT program, The Birmingham Water Works and Sewer Board (BWWSB) initiated its customer service improvements through the implementation of a converged data and telephony solution as part of its comprehensive Information Technology (IT) Program. Key components of this solution specifically targeted at enhancing the customer's experience with the BWWSB included Internet Protocol (IP) integrated Automated Call Distribution (ACD) and Interactive Voice Response (IVR) capabilities, as well as newly developed and cohesively integrated customer self-service data applications.

The benefits to the Customer Service Department included:

Customer self-service applications on an Interactive Voice Response System that providing customer access to real-time account information, predicted to reduce the overall volume of calls currently handled by live agents by up to 25 percent.

A reduction in overall call time as a result of integration with legacy CIS applications, predicted to reduce overall call duration by as much as 30 seconds.

Overall improvement in efficiency by focusing all customer interaction within the call center environment, and ensuring calls are handled promptly and effectively by routing calls to customizable skill groups, thereby reducing call abandonment rate.

Comprehensive customer call center management reporting supporting the implementation and tracking of performance measures for individual call agents and for the call center as a whole.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-01-01

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