CPW customers want more online billing options

Stegall: We're pursuing an HR service with customer service training

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A lot of Greer Commission of Public Works customers had a lot of nice things to say about the utilities company and its practices. That’s the good part of surveys.

The difficult part is taking solicited suggestions and putting them into action plans.

Brian Forrester, CPW Chief Information Officer, reported to commissioners Tuesday a customer service survey that showed high customer satisfaction, a few dissatisfied and some offering suggestions to facilitate their visit to the office or online at CPW.

“We submitted questions to our customers and we uncovered their perception or needs,” Forrester said.  “It was overwhelming positive. Seventy-five percent approved the Web-only survey and forty-five percent made suggestions.”

Forrester said online customers suggested storing their credit or debit card information so it doesn’t have to be re-entered each financial visit. Some customers wanted to overpay their account to offset the higher-usage monthly utility bills and some suggested equal monthly payments.

The survey was divided into four themes – conduct a recurring survey, develop a field visit survey, develop an office visit survey and analyze the phone survey.

“I’m pleased with the comments,” commissioner Jeff Howell said. “Can we take care quickly of the paying online suggestions and overpay? he asked General Manager Nick Stegall.

Overpayments, according to Stegall and his staff, prohibited CPW’s software to recognize the difference between paying a late bill balance or overpayment on the current invoice. Commissioner Perry Williams suggested CPW make an adjustment with its software. “It sounds like more like tweaking a software program,” Williams said.

Williams also suggested most of the online complaints, “Are coming from customers who can’t navigate through the website.”

Stegall said there were enough comments from customers that drew his attention to providing professional services. “I can’t say I’m completely satisfied with the comments,” Stegall said. “We’re pursuing a (human resource) service with customer service training for the staff.

Positive responses to CPW’s customer service ranked in the 88 percent or higher across all questions. Customers rated their last experience at CPS as moderately-extremely satisfied 89 percent and those liking CPW measured 86 percent in the former answer options.

Customers didn’t like being putting on hold when calling – only 35 percent answered they were never put on hold.

The surveys were conducted May 7-June 4 and June 12-July 13.


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