Family violence is a major issue in Australia. While our community struggles to improve the situation it’s also a very personal issue that can be difficult to talk about by those affected. Reaching out for help to escape the situation takes an enormous amount of courage; surely the process of putting a life back together – a roof over your head, food on the table, a sense of safety and security – should be easier, shouldn’t it?
Tony Kelly, non-executive director at Aputmo Australia, believes it should be and, where possible, organizations from banks to water utilities should lead the way in offering support. “Technology gives us so many opportunities to impose order on a situation of chaos” Tony said, “it just takes one ‘light-bulb moment’ to help someone who is struggling feel that they’re making progress.”
A great deal of upheaval and uncertainty often follows in the wake of breaking away from a violent situation. Having found a new place to call home, the worry that something as simple as an administrative error could push any progress into reverse, is something that a well-designed customer management system like Aptumo can help to alleviate.
Tony continued “In such a personal situation what a water utility, or any other service provider, can actually do is limited. The most valuable thing we can do is work with the customer to make sure the progress they have made is protected”.
Unlike many other billing systems being used by water utilities, Aptumo is customer- rather than property-centric. A profile is set up for a customer and then a property and the related services are linked to it. This means that when a customer service agent looks at a profile, they see a full 3600, real-time record of the customer’s billing and engagement history.
A customer may choose to identify themselves as affected by family violence, or it could become apparent to the water utility if their payment behaviours change or on the recommendation of a counsellor. Once aware of the situation, the customer’s profile can be flagged in Aptumo accordingly and, if necessary, be password protected to allow only the customer to make enquiries or provide information.
After that, as soon as the account is called up by anyone in the utility, a warning can be flashed onto the screen. If necessary, only specially trained customer service agents, who understand the sensitivity around the customer’s situation, will be able to access the account. Aptumo can easily provide high level management summary reports regarding the number of customers affected, without compromising personal information.
Tony says “Even with the best intentions, manual work arounds, usually set up outside a billing system, can fail, putting the customer’s safety at risk again. With an automated system in place, supported by appropriately trained staff and robust customer service protocols, the customer can feel safe and secure knowing their specific needs are recognised by their water utility. Being able to automate security around an account is a significant benefit for both the water utility and the customer”.
Look out for more updates over the coming months about how Aptumo can help water utilities to engage effectively with customers. If you would like to know more about how Aptumo could help you deliver exceptional service to your customers, contact Matt Bowd.