Clearwater, City of

Florida

The City of Clearwater’s (City) Customer Service department supports the City’s seven utilities (water, wastewater, gas, stormwater, reclaimed water, solid waste, and recycling ) by:

The Customer Service Department had recently implemented new management and, because of a desire to provide exceptional and efficient service to customers, the City decided to initiate a utility customer service efficiency review which would include an assessment of the following items within the Customer Service Department:

RFC was engaged by the City to conduct this study.  The RFC team began the project by conducting initial interviews with the customer service management team, utility directors and their management team, City Council members, the City Manager, and Assistant City Managers in order to understand the perception of the Customer Service Department and the interaction between the Customer Service department and each utility that it supports.  The project team conducted workshops with customer service staff and utility staff that perform customer service functions to gather initial insight into their responsibilities.  The project team then met with individuals in all areas of the Customer Service Department and those customer service representatives that perform customer service functions in the utilities to understand the procedures, technology, workload and communication between each utility and the Customer Service Department.   Individuals interviewed represented the following areas:

The project team then met with Lean champion teams (employees identified by management from the utilities as well as from the Customer Service Department) who would assist the project team in process mapping several key processes.  Since the processes crossed over several departments, it was important to have Lean champions that represented a cross-sectional group.  The project team also conducted a best practices survey with municipalities that provide similar utility service to that of the City of Clearwater.  The study process enabled the project team to identify recommendations to increase the efficiency of the Customer Service Department which included changes to the organizational structure, policies, technology used by various areas, workloads among groups, and cross-training opportunities to improve communications and increase knowledge.