…Survey Shows Mix of Positive Results and Room for Improvement
In a recent survey of Los Alamos utility customers, the Department of Public Utilities (DPU) received positive scores while also finding there are areas that need work.
The DPU’s ratings on a series of organizational characteristics showed the department generally in alignment with other public power providers throughout the country, the group used for comparative purposes. With a comparable score of roughly 68 percent for three separate characteristics–communicating with customers, responding promptly to customer questions and complaints and helpful, knowledgeable staff–DPU received scores of 73 percent, 76 percent and 80 percent respectively from residential customers.
The Voice of the Customer survey was conducted for five weeks beginning Jan. 4 by Great Blue Research. Respondents included 483 residential customers and 19 commercial customers.
When respondents gave poor ratings, they were given a chance to indicate their reasons.
The top three reasons stated for poor ratings on organizational characteristics were related to:
- Outage frequency or unreliability of service; and
- Poor communication, lack of information or non-responsiveness.
In the report summarizing the results, Great Blue Research staff recommended DPU work on improving first contact resolution with customers. DPU is in the process of implementing new software called Tyler 311 that will create work orders that include notifications to customers when completed. Tyler 311 is expected to go live on July 1 and should result in more customers seeing their issues resolved after the first contact.
Great Blue recommended DPU improve navigation and ease-of-use of its website, ladpu.com/utilities. Staff throughout Los Alamos County are in the beginning stages of revamping the entire county website so the recommendation is timely.
Additionally, the surveyor suggested DPU should provide conservation tips to customers. When respondents rated the DPU on organizational characteristics, they provided the lowest ratings for “helping customers conserve electricity, gas and water”. DPU is updating its Water and Energy Conservation Plan and has hired a conservation coordinator.
“While we can see that we need to work on some things, DPU has programmed resources to improve in these areas and we’re largely pleased with the results of the survey. We appreciate our customers taking the time to respond to it,” Utility Manager Philo Shelton said. “DPU’s employees work hard and that shows in some of the ratings. We’ll be doing this survey annually so that we can measure our progress as we work on the areas where we need to improve and discover where our focus needs to be on a continual basis.”
The full survey report may be found online at ladpu.com/VOC22.