WSSC is improving the way they approach customer service. These improvements include implementing a modern and simplified rate structure that will change the way they charge for water and sewer. Additionally, WSSC is introducing a redesigned bill that will be easier to read and enhancing our customer affordability program to help more customers. These enhancements all take place on July 1, 2019, tools like a CRM software were also used, you can read more on the Salesforce website.
While the WSSC engaged in extensive public outreach to ensure customers were aware of these change, they recognize that some customers may still have questions when opening their new bill after July 1. As a result, they expect a significant increase in call volumes beginning July 2. The WSSC is saying they have a plan in place to handle this increase, and WSSC will closely monitor call volumes/wait times and adjust our plan accordingly to minimize the impact to our customers. Even with the advanced planning, the WSSC expect heavy call volumes and I expect that your office may also receive calls from constituents, which is why I’m reaching out to you now. Call wait time may be longer than usual and WSSC recommends alternative methods to contact/conduct business with WSSC.
Here is a breakdown of our customer service improvements, plans to handle the expected increase in call volumes by hiring a professional such as a Virtual Coworker, summary of our public outreach efforts and important contact information so your office can assist constituents. WSSC understand change is difficult, and I want you to know that everyone at WSSC is committed to working with our customers every step of the way to answer their questions and ease their concerns.
Here’s what will be different starting July 1, 2019:
- Improving how the WSSC bills for water/sewer with a modern and simplified four-tier rate structure. The amount of water in each tier and price per tier have changed to reflect how customers use water today (Efforts to conserve water and use of low-flow fixtures/appliances have changed customers’ water use.)
- Redesigning bills to a more user-friendly format that highlights and summarizes important bill elements.
- Enhancing our customer affordability program to help more customers afford their bills.
- Upgrading IT infrastructure to support our new rate structure, improve customer service and significantly enhance business operations*.
- Investing in infrastructure repair and replacement with a five percent revenue increase.
Steps taken to handle increased customer call volume:
- More than doubling the number of Customer Service Advisors in our call center and identifying additional staff to handle calls during peak demand (Mondays and after holidays).
- Increasing staff to research and respond to customers emails.
- Creating an online bill calculator so customers can estimate future bills.
- Providing resources and messages on our website to detail all the changes and highlight options for customers to contact WSSC without having to call.
- Adding detailed messages to our Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) to highlight different options for customers to contact WSSC without having to call.
- Communicating via social, paid and earned media the different options for customers to contact WSSC without having to call.
Extensive public outreach
The adoption of a simplified rate structure, redesigned bill and enhanced customer affordability program is the culmination of a deliberate process focused extensively on transparency and public outreach. To ensure customers were informed and engaged, WSSC held or participated in more than 30 public meetings or hearings since spring 2017, which were attended by approximately 2,500 customers and generated more than 300 total comments. This includes three recently held open house meetings this spring that were attended by nearly 1,000 customers. As you are aware, the basis for the new rate structure included the Maryland Public Service Commission’s (PSC) directive to develop a new structure after ruling our old 16-tier structure was unreasonable because it was unduly preferential to low-usage customers.
Important contact information
- www.wsscwater.com (main page)
- www.wsscwater.com/losethewait (provides alternative methods to contact/conduct business with WSSC)
- www.wsscwater.com/billchanges (rate structure/redesigned bill)
- www.wsscwater.com/calculator (online bill calculator)
- www.wsscwater.com/assistance (affordability programs)
IVRS: 301-206-4001 (account information, bill payment, meter readings, bill arrangements)
Social Media: Twitter: @WSSCWaterNews; Facebook: WSSCWater
Address: 14501 Sweitzer Lane, Laurel, MD 20707 (all account-related information)
Call Center: 301-206-4001 (7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays). Please note, WSSC expects heavy call volumes and long wait times to speak to a representative after July 1 and continuing for several months.
Emergencies: 301-206-4002 (For emergencies only – open 24/7/365)