Introduction. Purpose of this documentThe purpose of this Data Collection Guide is to provide guidance and direction in how to complete the detailed questionnaire for the 2012 Customer Service benchmark study. It gives instructions regarding the types of answers expected, as well as errors to avoid
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1. Data Collection guide March 2012
2. Introduction Purpose of this document
The purpose of this Data Collection Guide is to provide guidance and direction in how to complete the detailed questionnaire for the 2012 Customer Service benchmark study. It gives instructions regarding the types of answers expected, as well as errors to avoid. This Guide has been described as the “rules” for providing data.
It provides the underlying process models around which the various sections of the questionnaire are organized, to help in understanding the purpose of some of the questions.
The appropriate costs to include, and those to exclude, are highlighted, so that each member utility can provide accurate, comparable data for comparisons.
A few key definitions are provided throughout the document. A comprehensive set of definitions is provided in a separate Glossary.
3. Scope of the Customer Service Benchmark Study 3
4. Initiatives vs. Practices In many areas of the questionnaire, there are open-ended questions, in which we are looking for insights about how you operate. Answers should be:
Brief and succinct – so that the reader doesn't need to read through an extensive volume of material to understand the message; because the responses will be printed verbatim, don't mention your company name or individual names in your replies
Complete enough to be understood in terms of the practice you are describing
Practically speaking, this translates to 2-3 sentence answers to most of the text questions
For our purposes:
Practices are current activities, programs or processes that have been around for a while. For these, sufficient time has passed in which to assess their success or failure. We mostly ask about practices that have proven successful in accomplishing a specific goal.
Initiatives are new activities, programs or processes that have been enacted recently with the goal of improvement. These are so recent (1 to 2 years) that insufficient time has passed in which to assess their success.
5. Data Collection Guide Outline ST. Statistics
CL. Customer Life-Cycle
CS. Customer Satisfaction
IT. Customer Service I.T.
FR. First Contact Resolution
CT1. Contact Center
6. Statistics February 2012 6
7. Purpose of the Section The purpose of this section of the questionnaireire is two-fold:
To gather statistical information about the existing customer base, and then,
To gather a bit of information about the organization of the Customer Service functions.
The Statistical Section gathers a variety of demographic information that describes each company's system in terms of size, customer density, etc. This information is used in doing analysis of the results, and understanding the inherent advantages and limitations of the circumstances facing each utility. 7
8. Statistical: Customer count Questionnaire: In the questionnaire we ask for meters and accounts. We ask for counts of both to be separated by commodity.
Accounts Definition: Active accounts in your system. An account is typically used for billing purposes.
Reporting: In the report we will use both accounts and meters as denominators. In some cases we'll multiply the number of accounts by the number of commodities billed on that account. This will produce some adjusted numbers that get at the extra cost of serving an account that receives multiple commodities.
Customer Count (accounts * commodity) = We add the number of accounts for individual commodities to get the total. Roughly represents the number of meters. There are unmetered items and meters that are not counted (such as streetlights).
Customer Count (accounts) = Roughly represents the number of accounts. An account with electric and gas meters gets counted once.
Customer Count (internal) = The count you use internally to represent the number of customers you have. This is the one reported on annual reports and other documents. 8
9. Customer Counts 9
10. Financial Section – Using the Cost Model February 2012 10
11. 11 Functional Cost Model Our approach to collecting cost, performance and staffing information follows customer transactions through each functional area.
12. Cost Categories Included Costs can be broken down into basic categories
Company Labor: direct, supervision, support
Contract Labor (including temps, seasonal)
Technology (see page 17 for listing of technology to include and where)
13. Cost definitions: General 13
14. Cost Definitions: General 14
15. Cost Definitions: functional 15
16. Cost Definitions: Functional
17. Technology Cost Within Function
18. Exclusions We've excluded costs related to any of the following:
Overheads -- we asked for your standard “adder” for Pensions and Benefits, and for your Overhead rate exclusive of the P&B
Facilities purchase, rent, leasing or maintenance costs. We have found these to be too variable between companies.
CIS purchase or lease costs. We have found these to be extremely variable among utilities based upon capitalization policies, life cycle costs, and chargeback policies.
Costs associated with providing services other than electric, gas and water/sewer.
Capital spending: capital for meter reading, AMI, CIS, and all other areas. We exclude capital costs throughout the basic cost model, and track only O&M. In the case of AMI, there is one question in the Meter Reading section of the questionnaire asking for capital spending.
19. Staffing February 2012 19
20. Staffing Staffing summary by
Direct Labor rule: a person having direct interactions with a customer or with a customer account is considered direct labor. Everyone else is either supervision or support. Use the 50% rule if they divide their time.
50% rule: Include a person in an activity if they spend at least 50% of their time on that activity, you can indicate they are 0.5 FTEs. If a person divides their time so that they don't spend at least 50% of their time on an activity they probably should be in the “Support” Group.
Employees assigned full time to a function. Include full-time supervisors and managers, or full-time employees who spend part time in different functions. Include part time supervisors and managers.
Also include employees who spend less than 40 hours per week.
When calculating FTE value use 2080 as the denominator.
Outsourcing: If you outsource an entire function, do not attempt to turn that into FTEs. 20
21. Support Staff Administrative support
Unlike technical support, administrative support refers to a task that is required in all processes. It is generic in nature and is (for the most part) interchangeable between functional areas. This category includes all secretarial FTEs as well as accounting and reporting activities that are decentralized in a specific activity, treatment of basic business information, scorecards, etc.
Technical support includes people supporting work specific to that functional area. It refers to all tasks performed by an FTE in support of a Direct FTE. It is Mission oriented. It takes the form of a particular expertise or knowledge that can only be used for a particular activity or process. Trainers and schedulers are also part of this category. Technical support FTEs will not work directly on a particular case other than assisting direct FTEs resolve particular problems encountered. Their task may also be to analyze the process performance, produce new policies and design new business practices for direct FTEs in order to ensure the activity evolves towards greater performance. 21
22. CS Support ARea Costs, FTEs or activities associated with either the whole CS function that cannot be allocated to another area of customer service or within a CS function that cannot be allocated to the activities described for that function.
Only include people who don't spend at least 50% of their time in a specific functional area. This might include benchmarking/performance improvement; training; directors, vice president.
If training is for a specific functional area, then it belongs with that area.
Do not include corporate allocations, or any HR activities.
23. Safety February 2012 23
24. safety For safety include Customer Service employees when calculating statistics.
This should include direct labor, support, management and supervision for:
Field Service (this may only include part of your Field Service employees or parts of other functions)
Includes: disconnect and reconnect activities, field notices and collections, high bill investigations, energy audits, and change-of-account work
Excludes: lineman, meter shop, meter technicians, gas leak repair
Billing & Payment Processing
Credit and Collections Office
25. Safety We ask for raw data to calculate safety statistics. The question also calculates the statistics within the question. Do not edit the fields highlighted in yellow that show the calculations. Until some numbers are entered, some of the fields will show “DIV/0!” 25
26. Customer Satisfaction February 2012 26
27. Customer Satisfaction Questions in this section are presented in the following categories:
Measuring Customer Satisfaction
J.D. Power scores
Frequency of surveys
Types of surveys [transactional, random, all customers]
Methods for administering survey [calls, mail, email, website, etc.]
Complaints (Regulated, Non-Regulated, Executive, Escalated)
Organizing To Handle Customer Issues
28. CIS and CS it February 2012 28
29. Scope of the Customer Service Benchmark Study 29
31. CIS vs. CS IT Costs CS IT (as part of “Technology” cost) is all the encompassing technology in a broad sense so it includes any non-CIS and may include some CIS, but is specific to a functional area
for example: ACD, IVR, Work Management, Mobile Data are part of CS IT and belong in their respective functional area (ACD to Contact Center etc.)
If there is a DIRECT allocation or charge to a function of CIS charges (such as usage or system utilization), then that goes into the CS IT, otherwise it is part of CIS
CIS is the system used to to maintain customer information, generate bills, issue service requests, and help “manage” customer relationships by providing utility representatives data, information and insight about each customer's accounts, individual needs and preferences.
Examples of vendor's products include: Accenture's C/1 (Customer-1), Oracle Utilities Customer Care, SAP For Utilities.
CIS costs may be costs allocated to or associated with Customer Service but not to specific functions, such as usage charges, data transfer or use charges, system maintenance charges. If such charges cannot be allocated to a specific function, they would go into the CIS cost column.
Again, verything else such as the Work Management, Mobile Data, Dispatch, ACD, IVR is Customer Service IT and should be specific to a function 31
32. These are not included in CIS Costs
33. 33 Exclusions
34. First Contact Resolution February 2012 34
35. Definition for FCR, As Presented by 1QC Based on Research and Practices Reviewed “First-Contact Resolution (FCR) is the percentage of initial contacts that do not require any further contact to address the customer reason for calling/contacting. The customer does not need to contact the company again to seek resolution, nor does anyone within the organization need to follow-up. Ideally, first-contact resolution should be defined from the customer perspective.”
(composite from multiple research sources)
36. Subject Areas in the FCR Section The FCR section is relatively brief, although asking about a very important area of Customer Service. Key questions cover the following:
Improvements made recently
Scope of FCR activities 36
37. Contact Center February 2012 37
38. Scope of the Customer Service Benchmark Study 38
39. Contact Center Introduction Contact Center covers the following areas of interest:
Use of Call Center (internal and outsourced, including inbound collections and small/mid-sized commercial and industrial account calls)
Use of Local Offices (there is a Local Office section for collecting costs separately from the Call Center)
Use of IVR (internal and outsourced)
Use of Internet
E-mail, fax, letter
Enrollment and contract management for retailer (deregulated companies)
40. 2012 Approach to Local Office Costs 40
41. Contact Center What's not included:
Contact center covers every interaction with customers except:
Credit Outbound Calling
Payment by check, kiosk, or payment center
Contacts related to regulatory, complaints, executive complaints, are not included here
Contacts pertaining to large C&I customers (e.g Account Managed) are not included here
As per above, though payments that are made through contact center channels are included in Contact Center, they are also counted as payments in the Payment Processing section. Do not include payment by check, at a kiosk or a payment center in contact center.
Payments made to cashiers (who only take payments and perform no other functions) should be excluded from Contact Center.
42. Contact Center Definitions
43. Contact Center Definitions (continued)
44. Topics Covered in the Contact Center Section (CT1) Service Level and Measurements
Demographics, Organization, and Scope of Services
Contact volume management practices
Workforce Management 44
45. Technology – Contact Center Contact Center:
Workforce Management (WFM)
Web, Social Media technology costs
Virtual hold technology costs
3rd party applications (OMS interface etc.)
Data mining software
46. Contact Volumes February 2012 46
47. Counting Contacts CSR answered calls & IVR calls – completed contacts (not abandons)
Local office – customer visits
Web contact – log-ons to account or hits to a specific type of page (some judgement required, but includes pages that provide information that avoid a phone call)
E-mail/Letters/faxes – incoming and outgoing
Social networking – outbound
48. Inbound Contact Volumes
50. Addressing “Transactions” versus “look-up’ Activities…What counts as a transaction In 2012 we are seeking to better capture and address completed transactions versus what we are calling “look-up” activities:
Transaction= customer executes an actual transaction with the utility- an inquiry, an order, a request for service, payment, etc.
Look-up= customer accesses a self-service channel, typically IVR or Web, to view general information about the company or view Customer Service information about their account but does not transact or conduct a transaction
If you have activities that represent a “look-up”, please place them in the General Company Information category. These should go in either the Web or IVR category
What should not count as a transaction by transaction category:
Simple Web “hits” where the customer may hit the web site (and you capture it) but there is no transaction or you don’t know the reason for the activity
Accessing the IVR but then opting out to a CSR or Agent before completing a transaction (the Agent live contact is a transaction, the initial IVR entry and opt out is not)
51. OUtbound Contact Volumes
52. Self Service & Integration February 2012 52
53. Self Service Introduction Self Service covers the following areas of interest:
Use of customer self service channels: web, IVR, email, fax
Services offered and functionality
Initiatives and marketing
Enrollment and contract management for retailer (deregulated companies)
54. Background As part of the core questionnaire, we want to survey Self-Service Channels and innovative ways companies and customers are interacting with one-another.
As companies evolve these solutions, greater levels of integration are required among and between key systems.
We are interested in investigating and understanding the integration between the CIS (Customer Information System) and self-service mechanisms (including both company generated and customer generated communications) These include:
IVR, Web and other self-service options or other newly expanding means such as social networking.
Areas covered could include outage notifications, service appointments, collections, energy usage notifications, program enrollments, bill presentment etc. 54
55. Self Service Integration with the CIS 55
56. Topic Areas for Self-Service Channels Self-Assessment
Transactions processing capability
Social Media usage
Customer self-service integration efforts (excluding social networking)
Outbound service and communications
Mobile applications 56
57. Billing 57
58. Scope of the Customer Service Benchmark Study 58
59. Technology – Billing
60. Subject Areas for Billing Bill presentment
Efficiency & Measurement
Initiatives for improvement 60
61. Billing Definitions Transactions
Bills Issued = Count one per customer, even if multiple commodities or multiple meters at a premise (e.g. a “consolidated bill”).
If a summary bill is produced (e.g. usage at multiple locations is summarized), count each individual location as a bill, as well as the summary bill.
Count any e-bills sent, but do not double count any mailings. If you send both paper and electronic, count as one bill.
Include any final bills sent in this count.
Error Rate = Account adjustments identified after the bill is delivered to the customer. A change that affects multiple months is still considered one adjustment. Does not matter if the account is re-billed or just adjusted on a subsequent bill. The adjustment may not be the company's “fault”. 61
62. Billing Volume 62
63. Payment Processing February 2012 63
64. Subject Areas for Payment Processing Volumes and types
Payment Options (cash/credit/electronic)
65. Technology – Payment Processing
66. Payment Processing Definitions Transactions
Payment = Payments processed should roughly equal bills issued. Multiple checks for one bill are considered one payment. One check for multiple bills counts as multiple payments. Include all payments whether sent via mail, paid in local office, payment agency or pay station, paid on-line or through IVR or call center.
Payments that have been posted accurately to the right accounts as a percent of all payments
Payment locations = Payment agencies; local offices, pay stations
Manual processing = refers to large amounts of payment processing done manually by local office reps or cashiers. Does not refer to one-off types of processing handled by contact centers or when image processing fails.
Cashiers in local offices should be included with this function since their primary function is to take payments. Other local office reps who handle activities in addition to taking payments are part of the contact center. 66
67. Payment Processing Definitions (Continued) Energy Assistance: payments might be processed by another agency or group. 3rd-party is paying on behalf of customer; agency accepts payment, uses other funds and processes it into the utility. Generally, put in "3rd Party" 67
68. Payment Channels & Options We ask you to provide information on payments both by channel and option.
We also capture information in both the Contact Center (CT305) and Payment (PP5) areas about payments received. Be sure that data is reported in all areas. 68
69. Field Service February 2012 69
70. Scope of the Customer Service Benchmark Study 70
71. Technology – Field Service
72. Field Service Scope and Activities…2 parts Field Service Orders
Field Service focuses on activity at the meter and includes (see detailed definitions later):
Change of Account
Field Credit activity
Field Service policies have influence on activity costs
Change of account estimating rules
Hard vs. Soft Disconnect
Even if these activities are performed in some other area of your company (e.g. meter electricians or line crews), we want them included in the Field Service section so that all companies are consistent.
Field Service Order Management
Benchmark the process for getting short-cycle, customer-generated AND internally-generated work to the field and completed
73. Field Service Definitions A completed field order is one where the assigned activity has been performed. CGI or “Can't Get In” does not count as a completed order. A trip to a service location that involves multiple commodities (e.g. gas and electric change of account) is considered as multiple trips. If multiple activities are performed at a location, count as only one trip.
Types of orders:
Billing-related activity – High bill investigation in the field, either customer or internally initiated, check read, rereads, meter tests in conjunction with investigation, meter change out in conjunction with investigation, also includes a disconnection for meter that had been left on, has usage, but no customer.
Change of Account – new customer to service territory, customer moving within service territory; not greenfield site. Includes: Soft Connect/Disconnect (e.g. Read in or read out); Hard disconnect/reconnect (e.g. physically turn off service). Does not include a new meter set.
Field Credit activity – Credit disconnections and reconnections, notice delivery, field collections
Turn-on/turn-off for seasonal customers
Field Service planning, scheduling and dispatch
Do not include field generated or programmed meter change-outs. 73
74. What's not included Gas odor response
Programmatic meter change-outs or tests
Revenue Assurance orders (e.g. remove meters, install locking rings, etc.)
Meter installations at a brand new service location; service upgrades; larger meter installs and related activities.
Restoration Specialists (e.g. Electric Troubleshooters)
Linemen, Line construction or O&M
Energy efficiency activities (typically part of Marketing Department) 74
75. Field Service Order volumes 75
76. Field Service Costs Given our definitions, we can then allocate cost 76
77. Field Service Order Management Process The purpose of this section is to evaluate the process for getting short-cycle, customer-generated AND internally-generated work to the field and completed. This includes the three specific field service activities (credit, billing investigations, and change of account) specified in previous pages.
Because of the widespread adoption of mobile data solutions for many field activities, we are also interested in how the scheduling process for these activities interacts with other activities. This section is organized around:
Performance measures/reporting 77
78. Self-Assessment Questions We use self-assessment questions as a way to quickly understand how your field service function operates:
We evaluate Automation as used for:
Scheduling customer orders [order scheduling]
Assigning [not dispatching] orders to workers [order assignment]
Auto-dispatch the majority of its work orders
View availability and status of your field workers on a real-time basis
Managed on a real-time basis [workload balancing, route re-optimization, adjusting dispatched work, inserting filler work etc.]
And Appropriate Organization - roles of supervisor and work planning/dispatch
Work order planning group optimizes the workload/routing/priorities of field workforce on at least a daily basis.
Field supervisors are directly accountable for managing the field workers assigned work site reporting, schedule adherence, utilization, and/or order completion performance.
Work order planning group to support order assignment, scheduling, distribution, dispatch, rerouting etc. for Customer Service orders
And whether or not you have an Efficient Process – changes in process
In the past year we've implemented new practices / technologies to better manage the field force 78
79. Process Model: Field Service Order Management Process 79
80. Process Measures For each of these Steps, we then ask for your process Measures…
For each of the following Order Management Steps, please provide us with the top 1-2 process measures you use in each step of the process (see Glossary for definitions). Please make sure to include all measures from the Call Center Agent, to the Scheduler, Dispatcher, and Field Worker:
1. Order Scheduling:
2. Order Assignment:
3. Order Dispatch:
4. Order Handling/Completion (in the Field): 80
81. Meter Reading February 2012 81
82. Scope of the Customer Service Benchmark Study 82
83. Cost Allocations: Meter Reading Meter Reading O&M cost allocation, please break out total meter reading costs by technology.
84. Technology – Meter Reading
85. Subject Areas for Meter Reading Volumes
86. Meter Reading Introduction Meter Reading covers regular monthly
AMR: mobile read and 1-way fixed network
AMI: 2-way fixed network reads used primarily for billing purposes
Does not include
Check reads, re-reads, etc., which are included in Field Service. 86
87. Meter Reading Volume Data 87
88. Meter Reading Definitions Transactions
Meter Read = Scheduled meter reads. If multiple meters are read at a premise, count as multiple reads. Include AMI/AMR, but only count one read per month for billing purposes. Trips to take a reading for a change of account or as part of a billing investigation (e.g. re-read) should NOT be included, instead these are in Field Service. For demand meters, even though the reader has to read both a demand register and a usage register, treat it as a single read.
Error Rate = Number of errors identified through the billing system before the bill is mailed, plus errors identified by the customer. 88
89. Meter/Billing Errors 89
90. Credit & Collections February 2012 90
91. Scope of the Customer Service Benchmark Study 91
92. Sections in the Credit questionnaire Overall Results – Delinquencies
Active Account Management
Final Account Management
Supplier Credit 92
93. 93 Write-offs This question captures Revenue and Write-off information. Note the most important fields are highlighted in green. If you do not answer these, you will not appear on the Write-offs per Revenue graph.
94. Technology – Credit
95. 95 Process Model -- Key Areas of Credit & Collections
96. Credit & Collections Distribution Through cS For analysis, we'll put the credit process cost back together from 3 different sources.
We have three primary sources for volumes:
New account setup calls
Number of inbound credit calls
Number of field credit orders worked
Number of outbound credit calls
Accounts written off
We expect to continue to ask these questions in multiple places in the questionnaire, to better fit with the organization structure and channels for executing the work 96
97. Guidelines - Credit Office Activity Notices issued, determination of disconnections and reconnections, payment arrangements when handled in the credit area (separate from contact center), outbound calls, policy development and execution
Include any collection agency or skip trace costs in contracted services
Only include credit postage if a separate credit mailing, otherwise put in billing.
Include outbound credit calls, which are calls made by the company (or contractors) to remind customers to pay their overdue bills, make payment arrangements, etc.
Include credit scoring transaction fees
Customer Assistance 97
98. Guidelines - Credit Office Activity What's excluded:
Field activities (connect/disconnect for non-pay, notices, collections) should be included in Field Service
Inbound credit calls belong in contact center 98
99. A Couple of Key Credit Definitions Performance Measure
Write-offs Percent = Net percent of total revenue written off (e.g. less any recoveries). Goal is the actual dollar amount written off during the year. This is not necessarily the same as “uncollectibles”, which is in the FERC 904 account for the year, since that can be affected by changes in the provision for bad debt during the year (FERC 144 account). Write-offs are the annual “net” cost of bad debt. In other words any recoveries (less fees) should be subtracted from gross write-offs.
Percent Past Due 60 Days = Percent of bills unpaid at 60 days. Note for most utilities this is balance due at second bill. 99
100. Volumes – Deposits Collected One area of interest is the number of deposits collected as a ratio to new applications . . . 100
101. Customer Assistance scope Added as part of the core questionnaire in 2011, we've included:
Customers eligible( %) for assistance programs
Customer receiving (%) assistance
$ value available and provided
$ in State assistance available
Practices and processes, approaches, policies, promotion of programs
102. Revenue Protection February 2012 102
103. Revenue Protection: Scope of Activities Revenue Protection activities vary greatly among utilities, depending on a number of factors, including commodities offered. Some utilities have dedicated Revenue Protection departments, which are the focus of this section. Other utilities leave the various activities in different areas of customer service and operations. For our purposes we only want you to include your dedicated Revenue Protection departments.
The broadest definition (sometimes referred to as Revenue Assurance) includes both office and field activities surrounding these types of revenue loss:
Energy theft (aka diversion, unauthorized usage): 1) Meter tampering; 2) Meter bypass; 3) unauthorized attachment.
Fraud (aka identity theft): Field investigation related to fraudulent names, and passing accounts among roommates to avoid bills.
Billing Problems: Field investigation and back billing for 1) usage on unmetered accounts, 2) usage on inactive accounts; 3) Meter errors (stopped or broken); 4) Not in system; unknown user
Other activities/technologies: 1) Data mining to identify suspicious usage patterns; 2) AMI tamper flags
For purposes of this survey:
Do not include meter-related field work performed by Field Service or Meter Shops
Do not include special contact center programs to prevent identify theft or fraud at account initiation
Do not include routine billing investigations
104. Revenue Protection: THE PROCESS Model The process model is built on a series of individual steps through which each case must progress
Reported: A reported issue (e.g. from Meter Reading, a hot line or data mining) is acknowledged and put in a backlog (perhaps identified as a “case”)
Investigated: A revenue protection person reviews either in the office or in the field and identifies a course of action (probably identified as a “case”)
Confirmed: The outcome of the investigation concludes there is usage that should have been paid for
Billed: A bill is presented to the customer (almost always a “case”)
Collected: Customer pays (and the “case” is closed)
105. Revenue Protection – the Iceberg Model 105
106. Relationship to Questionnaire In order to separate cases between RP25 and 30 and RP35 and 40, you’ll probably have had to reach the confirmed stage. You’ve investigated the case and determined whether or not it was intentional theft (RP25/35) or an error by the company (RP30/40).
Cases worked (asked in RP15) are any cases that are investigated, confirmed, billed, and collected. In order to answer RP15, you’ll have to have determined what type of case it in in the investigation stage. 106
107. Technology – Revenue Protection
108. We Thank you for your Input and Participation! 108