The COVID-19 pandemic has rewritten the way businesses and organizations operate and serve their customers, and utility districts are no exception. White House Utility District (WHUD), Tennessee's largest water and wastewater provider in terms of geographic area served, is a case in point.
In March 2020, for the first time in its history of service, WHUD closed its lobby to customers and sent nearly two dozen employees home to work remotely. Understanding the vitality of clean and reliable water, especially during a pandemic, WHUD adopted various new practices to help customers who were financially burdened by the pandemic and also to encourage all to use phone and online payment options. The goal of these and many other changes was simple: to help reduce the spread of the virus and protect employees and customers.
Since these changes have been in place, WHUD has not just maintained service to its customers but has also improved the way it serves and interacts with its customers. Two key developments have played a big role by giving customers quick and easy access to tools and information from anywhere, at any time. The first, an online Customer Problem Reporter, allows customers to quickly notify the district of any issues they are experiencing with their service. The second, an all-inclusive Customer Service Hub, gives customers access to a plethora of online tools, including the Customer Problem Reporter, and others such as a leak adjustment form, bank auto draft enrollment, and forms to start and stop service. Both are products of the district's partnership with Esri and the expansive suite of GIS tools that guide WHUD's day-to-day work. And while neither was developed in response to the pandemic, both have proven their value tenfold in enabling WHUD to keep customers informed, engaged, and satisfied with its service.