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October 2013, Volume 1, Number 5

Multichannel integration is the next step for customer service

The Metropolitan Utilities District of Omaha, Neb., wrestled with what has become all too common in the retail and service industries: A customer checks a bill online, following up minutes later with an email to report an unresolved issue. Not satisfied with the automated response, she calls the service center, and while on hold for 10 minutes, tweets about the company and updates Facebook friends about the ordeal. That's what MUD was up against as customers clamored for convenient access to billing information and prompt responses to gas and water service requests. Until recently, the utility was stuck in the antiquated age of the isolated call center in which 50 employees fielded calls from a customer base of about 225,000 households. "We are being compared with anyone in the service industry, and we are under pressure to interact differently with our customers," said Mark Doyle, MUD's senior vice president and chief information officer. As the number of ways to connect with others increases -- mobile, text, social media -- ...

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