Enhancing Customer Service Through One Stop Shop

2022 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Chesterfield County, Va., VA

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About the Program

Category: Community and Economic Development (Best in Category)

Year: 2022

Chesterfield County Department of Utilities’ commitment to continuous improvement includes the idea of frequently finding ways to improve our daily processes through total quality improvement philosophy. Supporting this philosophy, the Chesterfield County Department of Utilities began to identify and develop an inventory of its internal processes, connecting current processes with goals of customer satisfaction for internal and external customers. In 1998, discussions began to find a solution where customers can come to one place to initiate the process of building a new house and connecting to county services. The Community Development division of Chesterfield County includes the following departments: Building Inspection, Community Enhancement, Environmental Engineering, Planning, Transportation, and Utilities. In 2016, the Community Development division team selected an enterprise land management (ELM) software called ACCELA. The idea of customers going to one place on the county’s website to apply for building permits, plumbing permits, connecting to county water and sewer, and applying for companion irrigation meters became a reality on February 16, 2021, when the Community Development division launched the ELM portal. This five-year project required input from each department within the Community Development division. ELM consolidates zoning, plan review, utility connections for water and sewer, code enforcement, permitting and inspections into one single platform for customers. Since March 2016, our challenge has been to enhance and upgrade the level of service we provide customers through advanced technology, system flexibility, and work efficiencies. The Community Development division believed with ELM, the main objective in enhancing customer service experience would be beneficial to Chesterfield County. The objective to improve and enhance customer service in the ELM portal included: 1) Providing better customer interaction through multiple communication channels where customers can go into the Chesterfield County website and process the necessary application for construction work. 2) Improving county business processes and service operations by requiring the customer to complete one application, in one place. 3) Improving customer service metrics where customers complete their own application at their convenience. 4) Ability to pay water and sewer connection fee less than $10,000 online with Echeck or credit card. By applying these innovative customer service initiatives, the Utilities department provided significant improvement in customer service options, processes, and results.