One of the things I enjoy as IT Administrator at Northwestern Water & Sewer District is seeing how the District’s information systems can help improve service for our customers and at the same time reduce costs. The District supports roughly 20 major software packages ranging from basic office productivity tools to industry-specific applications such meter reading packages, leak detection tools, and remote telemetry control systems. There’s definitely a “cool factor” associated with many of the packages, but we work hard to remember that the point of all this technology is to provide better, faster, more efficient customer service at a lower cost.
One example is our CodeRED phone notification system. CodeRED is a third-party vendor with a national presence in the automated notification industry. We use the system in a variety of situations – I’ll highlight just two of them.
Sometimes an emergency water leak repair requires a boil notice to affected customers. In the past, we would let customers know of the boil notice by sending personnel to physically visit every affected home with a paper door hanger. CodeRED lets us highlight the affected area on an online map and automatically send a phone call to affected customers, or an email, or a text message, or all three. Now, within a matter of five or ten minutes, the area has been mapped, the notification message has been set, and the calls have been completed. This represents a huge savings in employee time, not to mention printing costs for the door hangers and gas for the vehicles.
In the past four or five months, we have also begun to use CodeRED to remind customers whose bills are past due to make payments on their accounts. Most of the customers who get the notifications are glad for the reminder and make their payments online or by calling our office. The result is fewer late payment fees for our customers, and also lower labor and vehicle costs associated with sending a crew to shut off water due to late payment – and then return after payment has been made to turn the water back on.
For the CodeRED system to work best, customers should log into the system to update their contact information – the phone notifications are only as good as the system’s contact information. To check existing information and update it with new cell phone numbers, customers can visit our website at. Click the “Sign Up for Alerts” link on the main page.
Or, click here to be directed to the web page and update your information!