General Customer Service Standards

General Customer Service Standards

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What does good customer service look like to you? What is important to you?

SURVEY: Licensing and Administration

SURVEY: Customer Service

NOTE:  The Customer Service Standards are all detailed below.  However, the most important information we need from you is ‘what does good customer service look like to you?’. What is important to you?  What should we stop doing or start doing differently?  Are some aspects of our service delivery better than others? What makes them better? What can we do to deliver you a great customer experience at every customer touch point?  We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Licensing and Administration Service Standard 1

Process allocation trade applications within five business days

Summary

  • An allocation trade transfers a volume of water allocation from a seller to a buyer. (This service standard is applicable to ‘unbundled’ water entitlements only – those allocations that are not connected to a land title.)
  • An allocation trade is only permitted when the volume of unused allocation available in the seller’s allocation account is greater than or equal to the volume of the trade. Trading rules apply based on the source of the water allocation.
  • The previously approved Service Standard (for Water Plan 4) was - 90 per cent of allocation trade applications are processed within five business days. This target has remained the same for two Water Plans now.
  • Currently we are exceeding that target and processing 99 per cent of applications within five business days.
  • GMW’s proposed target significantly exceeds the state-wide adopted standard of 90 per cent in ten working days.
  • The target has remained achievable with existing processes and resources.
  • Significant improvements in the automation of the trade approval process and the introduction of the online broker portal in the Victorian Water Register, have resulted in about 70 per cent of transactions now being approved automatically in under one day (though the portal).
  • This service is funded by a Fee for Service charge - The cost of processing is recovered by a fee. This fee is set by Ministerial regulation and therefore the resources which can be funded to undertake this processing are limited to the revenue collected from the application fee.

Why is this topic being considered?

  • This service standard is a standing item.

What are the decisions to be made?

  • Is this service standard and target still appropriate?
  • Should this service be increased, decreased or maintained?
  • What is your preferred method for processing this service? In person or online?
  • Are there efficiencies that can be achieved in processing applications?
  • Is there a point at which this service becomes online only? If so, what is the trigger?

How does this matter affect customers/stakeholders?

  • Trading allocation is the preferred way for many customers to operate their business.
  • Allocation trade along with Total Channel Control (TCC) and automation have increased customer expectations of delivery times.
  • Customers would generally like to see the maximum timeframe reduced to increase customer flexibility. However, a reduction in the target timeframe without an increase in dedicated processing resources would result in less applications meeting the standard.

What is not-negotiable in this topic?

  • Victorian Water Act – Part 5A
  • Victorian Water Register
  • Service standards for processing of allocation trade applications in Victoria were established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2009, as 90 per cent within 10 days. Changing the target would require agreement by other relevant authorities.

What is negotiable in this topic?

  • The five-day timeframe can be extended, reduced or maintained based on customer need (and willingness to pay if additional resources are required).
  • The method for processing this requirement has some flexibility – eg: online or in person.

What are the known, viable options?

  • Change the processing method to online only - through broker use and online portal. Noting this will require customer education, communications and engagement.

If other options are identified, can they be considered?

  • Yes but despite the shift to online, customers use GMW for allocation trading in the interim.

Licensing and Administration Service Standard 2

Processing water share applications within 10 business days

Summary

  • A holder of a water share may apply to transfer it. Approval is subject to Victorian trading rules.
  • This processing is still done manually through GMW and DELWP.
  • Customers are reliant on timely processing of water share applications to ensure water share dealings can be settled promptly.
  • Financial settlements relating to water share transfer applications are often reliant on the approval by the water corporation. It is for this reason speedy approval of application processing is a vital service to all water entitlement owners.
  • The approved Water Plan 4 Service Standard was 95 per cent within 10 business days.
  • Currently we are processing 81 per cent of applications within the 10 business days.
  • The processes relating to Water Share dealings are well understood by GMW customers and market participants and the current service standard is generally accepted by users of this service
  • This service is funded by a Fee for Service charge.  
  • This fee is set by Ministerial regulation and therefore the resources which can be funded to undertake this processing are limited to the revenue collected from the application fee.

Why is this topic being considered?

  • This service standard is a standing item.

What are the decisions to be made?

  • Is this service standard and target still appropriate?
  • Should this service be increased, decreased or maintained?
  • What is your preferred method for processing this service - in person or online?
  • Are there efficiencies that can be achieved in processing applications?
  • Is there a point at which this service becomes online only? If so, what is the trigger?

How does this matter affect customers/stakeholders?

  • There continues to be increased demand on the trading of water entitlements.
  • This processing Is still done manually through GMW and DELWP.
  • As customer awareness and understanding of trading continues to expand so does the demand on the trading team within GMW.

What is not-negotiable in this topic?

  • Victorian Water Act – Part 5A
  • Victorian Water Register
  • Service standards for processing of allocation trade applications in Victoria were established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in 2009. (The standard for approval of allocation trades set by COAG is 90 per cent within 20 days).

What is negotiable in this topic?

  • The processing time frame
  • The fee charged for the service - based on service level requirement
  • The method in which the water share is processed

What are the known, viable options?

  • Investment in technology to move online. GMW to discuss with DELWP through the 10-year water register strategy platform.

If other options are identified, can they be considered?

  • Yes – despite the existing standard, customer expectations and COAG agreement, investment in technology would improve service levels and potentially generate operational savings for GMW.

Licensing and Administration Service Standard 3

Processing change of ownership applications within 10 business days

Summary

  • The change of land ownership was introduced as a new service standard in Water Plan 4 after customers recommended its introduction to ensure timely transaction times when transferring property ownership.  A transfer of ownership occurs when a water share transfer is recorded in the Victorian Water Register.
  • During Water Plan 4 consultation, this function was highlighted as an important service due to associated entities needing to be established prior to being able to access water.  This is often essential during the irrigation season when crops may be dependent on water.  
  • Approved Water Plan 4 service standard, 90 per cent within 10 business days.
  • Result at present is that 66 per cent of change of ownership applications are processed within 10 business days
  • This KPI has been a challenge to meet in 2018-2019 due to resourcing, staff retraining and work volume.

Why is this topic being considered?

  • This service standard is a standing item after being introduced in WATER PLAN 4 as a result of consultation with our customer representatives.
  • This Service Standard is directly associated with our customer’s ability to access water however only applies to unbundled properties.

What are the decisions to be made?

  • Is this service standard and target still appropriate?
  • Should this service be increased, decreased or maintained?
  • What is your preferred method for processing this service? In person or online?
  • Are there efficiencies that can be achieved in processing applications?
  • Is there a point at which we make the processing for this service online only? If so, what is the trigger?

How does this matter affect customers / stakeholders?

  • Delivery of service and the ability to irrigate often affects customers once they purchase a property.
  • Often having to wait for 10 business days or more to irrigate can impact our customers business operations.
  • It can also cause frustration with our customers and places pressure on GMW team members.

What is not-negotiable in this topic?

  • Nothing is off the table, however a customer’s ability to irrigate a property quickly following a purchase is a good reason to ensure this KPI is maintained or improved.

What is negotiable in this topic?

  • Nothing is off the table, however a customer’s ability to irrigate a property quickly following a purchase is a good reason to ensure this KPI is maintained or improved.

What is negotiable in this topic?

See above.

What are the known, viable options?

  • System improvements to ensure service standard KPI is reflected accurately.

If other options are identified, can they be considered?

  • Yes, customer engagement program to ensure applications are timely and contain all the correct information should be considered.
  • Investigating online opportunities that streamline processing.

General Customer Service Standards

NOTE: The Customer Service Standards are all detailed below.  However, the most important information we need from you is ‘what does good customer service look like to you?’. What is important to you?  What should we stop doing or start doing differently?  Are some aspects of our service delivery better than others?  What makes them better? What can we do to deliver you a great customer experience at every customer touch point?  We look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Customer Service Standard 1

Complaints to the Energy & Water Ombudsman of Victoria (per 1,000 customers)

Summary

  • This service standard pertains to the number of complaints per 1000 customers that are received by the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria (EVOW) from GMW customers.
  • EWOV facilitates the resolution of complaints and disputes between consumers and the providers of electricity, gas and water services in Victoria.
  • Approved Water Plan 4 service standard is 0.17 per 1000 customers. The Water Plan 4 target remained unchanged from Water Plan 3
  • Result are currently 0.28
  • The number of complaints per 1000 customers is the industry benchmark that enables direct comparison reporting against all utility service providers.

Why is this topic being considered?

  • This service standard is a standing item.

What are the decisions to be made?

  • Is this target still appropriate?

How does this matter affect customers / stakeholders?

  • This service standard provides a mechanism for customers to ensure their complaints can be escalated and dealt with by EVOW if they are not satisfied with GMW’s response.

What is not-negotiable in this topic?

  • Essential Service Commission customer service code and EVOW standards.

What is negotiable in this topic?

  • GMW’s customer complaints process – can we change this process to better meet our customers’ needs?

What are the known, viable options?

  • Unlikely we can change this standard as it is governed by the ESC and customers and their representatives generally support this service.
  • Engaging with our customers to update our Customer Complaints Process to better meet their needs

If other options are identified, can they be considered?

  • Yes, improving our internal complaints process should be done with input from our customers.

Customer Service Standard 2

Customer complaints to GMW (per 1,000 customers)

Summary

  • For Goulburn-Murray Water’s purpose, a complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction made to or about GMW, related to its products, services, actions or staff where a formal response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required.
  • Complaints reported to GMW provide an opportunity for issue resolution prior to progression to the EVOW. Capturing complaints provides for continued business improvement opportunities where trends can be identified and measures put in place to mitigate future complaints.
  • Approved Water Plan 4 service standard, 3.0 per 1000 customer. Result at present is 1.52.
  • Given the systems are in place to track this standard the target is set and has been achieved at 100%.

Why is this topic being considered?

  • This service standard is a standing item.

What are the decisions to be made?

  • Is this service standard and target still appropriate?
  • Should this target be increased, decreased or maintained?
  • Do you think GMW’s complaints process is appropriate?
  • If no – do you have any suggestions how GMW could improve it?

How does this matter affect customers / stakeholders?

  • This service standard ensures customers have the opportunity to raise their dissatisfaction and have it dealt with prior to raising the issue with the Ombudsman.

What is not-negotiable in this topic?

  • Essential Service Commission customer service code

What is negotiable in this topic?

  • The target and its measurement
  • Our customer complaints process
  • Communication about our Customer Complaints Process

What are the known, viable options?

  • EY Audit actions (2018) require greater internal education on complaints and the Complaints Management System process to ensure accuracy in the number of complaints that are received within the organisation. This education should see an increase in complaints.
  • Engage with customers to develop a Customer Complaints Process that better meets their needs.

If other options are identified, can they be considered?

  • Yes, customer engagement on this topic will ensure our customers play a key role in this important process.

Customer Service Standard 3

Telephone calls answered within 30 seconds

Summary

  • This service standard reports the percentage of telephone calls that are answered by the Call Centre within 30 seconds.
  • The 30 second timeframe is measured from the point that the call is connected to the customer service operator’s phone system directly or via the Interactive Voice Response (IVR). This excludes the privacy message and the pre-recorded messaging.
  • Approved Water Plan 4 service standard – 80 per cent within 30 seconds.
  • Result at present is 76 per cent
  • Water Plan 4 reduced the target from 95 per cent in 30 seconds to 80 per cent in 30 seconds.

Why is this topic being considered?

  • This service standard is a standing item.
  • There is an expectation across rural water corporations and utilities that all forms of  incoming communication will be responded to in a prompt and efficient manner, GMW currently offer this through the call centre.

What are the decisions to be made?

  • Is this service standard and target still appropriate?
  • Should the answering time for this service (currently 30 seconds) be increased, decreased or maintained?
  • Should the 24/7 Planners be held to the same key performance indicator and Call Quality Standards?

How does this matter affect customers / stakeholders?

  • Ensuring we’re meeting our customer and stakeholder needs is essential to GMW.
  • Our customers and stakeholders should rightly expect their inbound calls will be answered in a timely manner and their issues or enquiries will be resolved.

What is not-negotiable in this topic?

  • Essential Service Commission customer service code

What is negotiable in this topic?

  • Operating hours and call centre resourcing.
  • The timeframe outlined for answering calls

What are the known, viable options?

  • Review structure of Call Centre and Water Delivery under the lens of Transformation.
  • Investigate increase operating hours by incorporating service standards and call quality measurements across the planners within Water Delivery.
  • Ensure resourcing enables experienced operators to perform the front line tasks associated with the Tatura Customer Service Centre.

If other options are identified, can they be considered?

  • Yes, if customers are willing to accept a change in this service standard it could provide opportunities to reduce operating expenditure for GMW.

Customer Service Standard 4

Customer complaints responded to within 10 business days

Summary

  • Customer complaints response in 10 days was a new service standard in WATER PLAN 4.  GMW have historically provided this service to customers and articulated this within our customer charter.  
  • This service standard recognises the importance of timely acknowledgment of complaints from customer and provides assurance that their complaint is being taken seriously.
  • Approved WATER PLAN 4 service standard – 100 per cent within 10 business days.
  • Result YTD 100 per cent
  • The timely resolution of complaints is tracked through a quality assured complaints management system which has been validated via audit.

Why is this topic being considered?

  • This service standard is a standing item.

What are the decisions to be made?

  • Is this service standard and target still appropriate?
  • Should the response time for this service (currently 10 days) be increased, decreased or maintained?
  • What is your preferred method for receiving a response? In person, traditional letter or email?

How does this matter affect customers / stakeholders?

  • Customers supported the inclusion of this service standard in WATER PLAN 4 as it ensures GMW actively respond to all complaints received in a timely manner. The previous service standard does not reflect this.

What is not-negotiable in this topic?

  • Essential Service Commission customer service code

What is negotiable in this topic?

  • The response time
  • The method of making a complaint, eg. in person, phone, online.

What are the known, viable options?

  • Consideration to the service standard wording could be given as our system tracks customer complaints, non-regulated customer and non-customer complaints. Under current practices, the service standard could be worded ‘Complaints responded to within 10 business days with a resolution or expected timeframe in which a resolution will be achieved’.
  • Developing a Customer Service Strategy with key goals, outputs and performance measures.

If other options are identified, can they be considered?

  • Yes, developing a Customer Service Strategy will require engagement with our customers to ensure they’re at the heart of the development process.
Customer Service Standard 5

Rate of first point resolution (for phone calls)

Summary

  • This service standard supports our commitments for providing customers with a favourable experience by aiming to address their enquiries through first point of contact resolution. It aims to empower and equip frontline staff to address customer enquiries without the need to transfer the call.  
  • Approved Water Plan 4 service standard – 54 per cent of inbound calls.
  • Result at present is 65 per cent
  • Our call centre handling performance since the adoption of the new technology has been consistently high and in line with customer expectations.
  • We propose to keep a target that drives appropriate behaviours which result in positive customer service outcomes.

Why is this topic being considered?

  • This service standard is a standing item.

What are the decisions to be made?

  • Is this service standard and target still appropriate?
  • Could this service be increased, decreased or removed?
  • Is there another way you would like to access information from GMW?
  • Is this a better customer service indicator than the 30 second service offering?

How does this matter affect customers / stakeholders?

  • First call resolution has the ability to increase customer and stakeholder satisfaction in a positive manner if a call can be resolved at that first customer touch point.
  • Customer representatives were very supportive of introducing this new service standard in Water Plan 4 and will continue want their enquiries dealt with and resolved at the first point of contact

What is non-negotiable in this topic?

  • Nothing is off the table.

What is negotiable in this topic?

  • If the service standard is relevant and needed.

What are the known, viable options?

  • Average call handling times could be considered as a satisfaction measurement to coincide with this service standard.
  • If customers do not believe this service standard is important it could be removed.

If other options are identified, can they be considered?

  • Yes - online technology, such as chats, could be considered.