Achievement Award Program

Water/Sewer Emergency Call-Center Enhancement Program

2022 NACo Achievement Award Winner
Water/Sewer Emergency Call-Center Enhancement Program
Chesterfield County, Va.

About the Program

CATEGORY: County Administration and Management
YEAR: 2022
Chesterfield County Utilities (CCU) is a medium to large size purveyor of potable water and provider of collection and treatment of wastewater. With a population of just greater than 360,000, Chesterfield is the fourth most populous county in Virginia (with Fairfax, Prince William and Loudon counties exceeding it). Due to its size, CCU must field numerous calls concerning billing, start-up/closing of services, reporting of issues (such as water or sewer line breaks and/or loss of service), and regarding technical matters such as water quality. The variety of different calls demand different sections within CCU to be able to properly address concerns. Depending on the call, there may be a need for an afterhours response (e.g., water main break), or there may be a call that can only be properly addressed during day hours with full staffing (e.g., water bill discrepancy). For CCU, the years of 2020 and 2021 have been an adjustment period. For the Operation and Maintenance division, the workplace conditions changed most significantly for the call-center staff. They went from being in the office and greeting walk-in customers five days a week to a combination of in-person and remote working. All the call-center’s staff within the Operation and Maintenance division have the ability to telework. To meet the needs of our customers, there is always one person at the front counter. The staff delivers consistent, excellent customer service by applying the best practices and learning habits that have been emphasized in our workplace culture. As challenging as it might be for everyone, this new work environment has become part of our current culture, giving us the confidence to know we can meet future challenges. The objectives of the program included modifying the existing emergency call-center system, enhancing the customer experience, reduction of redundant systems, utilizing existing technology as much as practical, maximizing use of existing staff resources through innovative approaches to business, and reducing unnecessary customer call transfers. The inception of the program began in fiscal year 2020 and was completed in August of 2021.

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