City of Phoenix, Arizona
Charles Day & Associates (teamed with Black & Veatch) has been engaged to evaluate the customer service function of the City of Phoenix Water Customer Services Division (PWSD). This major study for the Nation's sixth largest utility consisted of three phases - activity based costing (ABC), benchmarking and process improvement. In the initial phase, all of the activities of the customer service and field operations activities of PWSD were identified and a cost allocation overlay developed to identify activity costs. Then more than 50 performance measures were identified for these operations and compared to other municipal utilities, to investor owned utilities, to contract operators and to best practice values. Following this benchmark comparison, processes with the greatest opportunities for improvement were identified, and process improvement teams were formed. Team members were trained in process mapping and visits were made to best practice partners. The process teams then adapted identified best practices to the processes being used at PWSD. This study was performed by working with a labor-management committee and through various work unit groups with virtually every member of the two departments.
American Water Works Association
Research Foundation (AWWARF)
This two year $450,000 study included case studies of five utilities that achieved major improvements in customer service, analysis of the practices of three private sector firms deemed to be best practice organizations, the development of a toolkit for the improvement of customer service operations and the pilot testing of that toolkit on 4 utilities. This study was selected by AWWARF as one of its showcase projects for an international water research symposium. This study will culminate this summer in a preconference workshop at the AWWA Annual Convention and will be published in book form in the late Fall.
City of San Diego, California
Charles Day & Associates (teamed with Black & Veatch), was selected to perform a management review of the City's Water Department. This review was in response to City Council concerns about the overall management of the department and several specific areas within the department, which were of concern. The project had a very tight timeframe to complete the comprehensive review, therefore several teams were assigned by Black & Veatch to complete the project within the limited time allowed.
The project included a review of the quality of the management team within the Water Department and reviews of the Capital Improvement Program, Customer Service function, and operation and maintenance of both the system and plant operating functions. Additionally, a separate study was completed simultaneously to determine the effectiveness of increasing the bi-monthly billing to monthly billing for all residential customers.
The project also involved the review of working relationships between the Water Department and other city departments to determine the effect and influence that the activities that the activities of the other departments had upon the operating effectiveness of the Water Department.
Charles E. Day and Associates assisted the Philadelphia Water Department and the Philadelphia Water Revenue Bureau with an operational assessment, quality assurance organization and procedure implementation and establishment of a virtual call center. The virtual call center enables a seamless operation between two physically separated call center units in handling utility billing and operations oriented calls. The economies of scale with one larger call center have resulted into increase agent occupancy and staff utilization. Supervisor coaching and cross- training of agents has enriched employees' assignments, compensation and efficiency. A network based ACD capability was identified to lower capital investment and provide real-time queue management for both operations more universally and with consistent measurements and accountability.
Philadelphia Gas Works,
Charles E. Day and Associates recently assisted this gas utility with its customer services initiatives and call center operations from. Areas of focus included leadership development, customer service training, employees and management communications, staff hiring, metrics establishment, call control and after call work coaching, quality controls establishment, and union relationship improvements. Additionally, technology assessment and adjustments, mathematical scheduling of workforce shifts and business planning were improved and resulted into the call center experiencing a phenomenal turnaround in operating performance. The most significant of which was to reversal in a trend of lengthy call handling times, unnecessary and repeat calls by customers which enabled calls handled volume to exceed the number of abandoned calls for the first time in five (5) years. This netted an improvement of over 150% in customer satisfaction and service level within a 12-month period (see graphic).
More Case Studies to Come Soon...
Recent Services & Projects
The following management/telecommunications projects were recently completed by Charles E. Day & Associates and its key affiliates. They begin to illustrate the depth and diversity of the work we do to help companies gain that competitive advantage.
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