Kathy Whalen and Miguel Echeverria discussed their challenges, their plan for improvements, and what success looks like to them.

On September 10th, Kathy Whalen (Customer Service Officer) and Miguel Echeverria (IT Manager) of KCWS joined West Monroe Partners in presenting the luncheon keynote address at the Smart Water Summit titled, “Improving Customer Service Through People, Processes and Technology.” The Smart Water Summit is designed to provide a forum for water utility executives to connect with leading industry focused vendors. It also enables utility executives a chance to interact with their peers and share success stories, missteps, strategies, and plans for success.

The presentation was extremely well received and we wanted to pass along some details that we think you may find helpful. Miguel Echeverria from Kansas City Water started the presentation by discussing the IT improvements that have occurred over the past year from working with West Monroe Partners. The IT updates occurred in a three-step phase.

Miguel also covered the data management structure that ensured business and technical cross-functional groups within KCWS provides quality, clean, timely, complete and consistent data that is stored and analyzed throughout the project! This involved developing a set of rules and processes to control all master data entry and future integrity.

Kathy Whalen explained the business needs of KCWS, describing the past history of frequent management turnover and poor customer service that was highlighted by the local media. The Customer Information System was out of date and there was a need for assistance in creating a meter-to-cash organization. This was both in the structuring and in the training or operating processes.

Based on these needs, KCWS and West Monroe Partners developed a detailed approach that focused on the following key initiatives:

• Upgrade existing CIS
• Develop a meter-to-cash organization
• Implement significant training material
• Develop data management structure
• Install laptops in vehicles
• Analyze AMR infrastructure and planned expansion

Kathy finished the presentation by sharing her personal vision of what success looks like at KCWS.

These included:

• First and foremost, having a reliable CIS that our Contact Center staff are thoroughly trained on using to its optimum functionality
• Secondly, there will be a comprehensive meter-to-cash process where meter data systems and processes provide the most accurate and timely data available in order to produce accurate customer bills and account information
• Thirdly, using the CIS to process as many customer transactions as possible electronically – as opposed to paper processes
• Reduced need for customers to contact us about billing problems and other customer service issues

There were many questions around this topic at the Smart Water Summit. We would be happy to discuss the project and answer any questions you may have in more detail. Please reach out to me at tkerestes@westmonroepartners.com.