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Major US Utilities organization reduces exceptions by 70% in a week

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How a leading utilities organization improved billing accuracy and reduced their exceptions backlog by 70% in just a week to reach new levels of customer service.

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Major US Utilities organization reduces exceptions by 70% in a week

  1. 1. About the Customer Major US utilities organization reduces exceptions by 70%… in a week How a leading utilities organization improved billing accuracy and reduced their exceptions backlog by 70% in just a week to reach new levels of customer service.
  2. 2. Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) is the largest department in Tacoma City Government. It operates entirely from sale of services revenues, delivering power, water and short haul rail operations. In addition, TPU Customer Services bills for Environmental Service utilities services (garbage, sewer and surface water) for those customers who live within the city of Tacoma. TPU provides services that are vital to quality of life. They are highly active members in serving - and giving back to - their local community with a real focus on customer service excellence. About the customer
  3. 3. About the customer >200,000 customers across the Tacoma Public Utilities divisions system. $537.5M operating revenue 2341 miles of transmission/ distribution lines 1336 employees 1366 miles of water mains Publicly owned since 1893 $
  4. 4. About the customer Committed to serving their community, in 2014 TPU… helped 1336 households pay their bills spent 1883 hours in volunteering to local non-profit organisations gave $270,000 in cash, products and volunteer time
  5. 5. The Challenge
  6. 6. The Challenge TPU’s Customer Services bill some of their customers for up to five separate utility services. They implemented SAP CCS in 2004 and over time found they had a lack of standardization in how back-office staff utilized the solution. Many users had received very little formal training and instead were creating their own ways of working, resulting in a loss of efficiency. efficiency
  7. 7. The Challenge Processes became slower and TPU found they weren’t able to focus on the accuracy of meter readings, negatively impacting on customer satisfaction. Overtime, all stages throughout the meter to billing cycle had become less transparent. TPU was spending more time on exception handling than expected, and decided to carry out an analysis with peers in the industry. customer satisfaction
  8. 8. The Challenge Comparably the company had higher average call handling times and more billing issues. In fact, 11% of their meter readings were involved in exception handling at some point in the process; either because of an error, a missing meter reading, or not fitting within pre-defined thresholds. This meant some bills didn’t reach customers in a timely manner and this resulted in an increased ‘cost of service’ per customer. 11% of meter readings involved exception handling!
  9. 9. The Challenge TPU’s commitment to customer service is paramount and a key component of that commitment is the need to provide accurate bills which are delivered on time. They needed a solution to help them: solve their exception issues improve process efficiency ensure accurate and on-time bills.
  10. 10. The Solution What did Tacoma Public Utilities do?
  11. 11. The Solution TPU implemented a solution to give back-office staff a quick and easy 360° view of the customer, with all history of the customer exceptions and any communication that had already occurred. 360º
  12. 12. The Solution TPU is now looking to establish a realistic KPI of meter to bill within 3 days, with the meter reading on the 1st day and exception handling on the 2nd or the 3rd day. This will help ensure consistently high service levels and reliability for their customers and avoid incoming calls from late bills.
  13. 13. The Solution TPU has lowered the volume of exceptions requiring intervention and reduced the amount of standard labor, and within six months expects to eliminate any overtime hours, required to carry out this work. As a result, TPU can look at a better use of their resources and staff can focus on activities that will be more valuable for – and give more back to – end customers. exceptions labor overtime
  14. 14. The Solution TPU now has standardized back-office processes and has a platform to help train users on how they should carry out each process, and how work is expected to be accomplished. Implementation and staff training has been straightforward as the solution shows data in a hierarchy very similar to one that staff were previously used to seeing.
  15. 15. The Solution TPU benefits from enhanced reporting and performance metrics and has a better understanding of average case handling times. The solution’s comprehensive reporting options allow TPU to drill into data and give everyone working within the process a good idea of how they fit in.
  16. 16. The Solution TPU’s solution allows coaching and training needs to be easily identified, ensuring everyone has the knowledge they need to work at their optimal level.
  17. 17. What does this mean to Tacoma Public Utilities?
  18. 18. TPU’s goal was to reduce their 11% of meter read to bill cycles with exceptions, to between 3 or 4% - a reduction of around 70%. After only a little over a week, they met that target, even before adding any additional modifications to the standard implementation. What does this mean to TPU? -70%
  19. 19. What does this mean to TPU? TPU is exploring other areas to achieve further efficiency gains utilizing the solution. Agents using the solution are providing feedback as to where they feel enhancements could be made, and the solutions provider is working with them to help implement the changes to achieve further efficiencies.
  20. 20. What does this mean to TPU? 95% of invoices are now ready to mail within 3 days as a direct result of utilizing the solution. Through automation, TPU has improved exception handling times and reduced the amount of required labor and overtime. This resource reduction equates to one full time employee. improved handling times reduced labor and overtime
  21. 21. What does this mean to TPU? TPU’s management will soon have better visibility of individual and group performances. Reports are providing better decision making and full reporting on a regular basis, including the percentage of meter to bill cycles completed within the specified 3 day window. The TPU executive team dashboard will provide objective performance and KPI reporting.
  22. 22. What does this mean to TPU? The reporting has helped TPU identify the number of meter readings that come in early, on time or late. TPU is now monitoring this to decide whether they need to make changes in the processes, or give more resource to meter reading.
  23. 23. What does this mean to TPU? Reports are now broken down by division (power/water/environmental services), as opposed to the previous, simplistic, top-down only view. This provides real understanding of the impact of each division individually, as well as a holistic overview. It gives more transparency not just to the customer service organization but to each operating division.
  24. 24. How did TPU achieve such impressive resource savings?
  25. 25. How did TPU achieve such impressive resource savings? TPU implemented BDEx and Torch from Basis Technologies. Following rigorous industry benchmarking, TPU put together an RFP for solutions to their meter to billing cycle challenges. They received proposals from 8 different suppliers, the majority of which documented ways to customize SAP to try and meet their challenges. In proposing their BDEx product, Basis Technologies was the only organization to suggest an SAP-certified add-on solution, and really stood out in contrast to the more cumbersome option of customization.
  26. 26. “We had seen Basis Technologies and the BDEx solution previously at conferences, and had been very impressed. As a result of the RFP response and our pre-existing awareness, BDEx was selected as the best way forward.” Sue Daulton Tacoma Public Utilities How did TPU achieve such impressive resource savings?
  27. 27. “Implementation was smooth. On the Friday, agents were carrying out processes in the old way. On the following Monday BDEx was in place and being used. TPU has so far experienced no glitches or issues with the implementation.” Sue Daulton Tacoma Public Utilities How did TPU achieve such impressive resource savings?
  28. 28. “Not only does it provide user-friendly tools for your billing agents, it allows transparency for supervisors and will soon be shared all the way up to the executive team on KPIs and dashboards, to allow the process to be reviewed. If you can measure, monitor and give people the tools they need to get their work done you can only get better.” Sue Daulton Tacoma Public Utilities How did TPU achieve such impressive resource savings?
  29. 29. “End users have been overwhelmed with how well the tool performs and have given this feedback to the management team. Using BDEx isn’t just restricted to within customer service. The management, executive team and CEO are all interested in making improvements in this area and this has been a very visible corporate initiative. Feedback thus far has been fantastic” Sue Daulton Tacoma Public Utilities How did TPU achieve such impressive resource savings?
  30. 30. When asked about Basis themselves, Sue Daulton of TPU said “The Basis Technologies team are fantastic. They’re one of the best consulting firms I’ve ever worked with. They’re professional, understand the product very well and are excellent listeners. So when we talk about things that we’d either like to see or ask “can it do that”, they’re very good at understanding what we’re asking for and providing relevant, thought-out solutions. They positively support requests and ideas from our team – and then run off and do them!” How did TPU achieve such impressive resource savings?
  31. 31. “We feel valued too. Because we have been long term SAP customers, we might ask different questions, and I think Basis Technologies has found that refreshing, so overall hopefully we’ve added some value to the BDEx product for other customers in the future as well.” Sue Daulton Tacoma Public Utilities How did TPU achieve such impressive resource savings?
  32. 32. About the Customer BDEx part of BDiApps basistechnologies.com
  33. 33. About the Customer basistechnologies.com Basis Technologies is the leading provider of continuous delivery tools in the SAP market. Every day we help businesses across the globe to improve time-to-market whilst maintaining production stability. Basis Technologies has a proven track record working with utility organizations that use SAP. Our unique add-on tools help them improve their customer service and billing solutions, reduce operational costs and improve user and customer experience. All Basis Technologies’ DevOps and utility industry products are SAP-certified and are available as modular, subscription-based, software-only tools. About Basis Technologies

How a leading utilities organization improved billing accuracy and reduced their exceptions backlog by 70% in just a week to reach new levels of customer service.

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