Identifying and correcting the root cause and creating a roadmap to improve customer satisfaction.

The Challenge 

Restoring the confidence of unhappy, overcharged customers 

A municipal west coast water utility received numerous highly public complaints of overcharged customers in late 2017.

An internal review uncovered items that all contributed to higher bills but neither holistically addressed customers’ concerns of high bills nor identified risks and mitigation strategies to assuage high bills in the future.

Consequently, the utility contracted West Monroe to perform an analysis of alleged high bills and conduct a comprehensive operational assessment to help restore customer confidence.

The Solution 

Digging through the data to identify problem areas 

West Monroe conducted detailed data analysis on over 10.3M meter reads to understand aggregate water consumption trends, including the impact of conversation mandates, temperature, and precipitation. West Monroe calculated each customer’s average water consumption, normalized consumption based on days in the bill period, and identified the standard deviation of an individual customer’s meter readings versus their historical consumption. With this dataset, West Monroe proved that customers’ water consumption had returned to pre-drought levels and that most of the high bill allegations were unsubstantiated.

From an operational perspective, West Monroe:

  • Shadowed field personnel performing meter tests, meter replacements, meter reading, and field investigations to confirm compliance with industry best practices
  • Conducted office observations to evaluate customer service and billing practices and their contributions to high bill allegations and customer complaints
  • Performed a peer analysis, comparing this utility’s policies, operations, and technology to peer utilities
  • Analyzed a case log of 900 high bill complaints and conducted an independent review on targeted accounts

The Impact 

Creating a roadmap for success 

Using data from analysis, observations, interviews, and comparisons to peer utilities, West Monroe developed a roadmap of eight key initiatives to ultimately mitigate the risk of future high bills, improve operational efficiency, and restore customer confidence.

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