I will be writing a bi-weekly e-mail that will focus on topics of interest to people like you who are responsible for operating a utility system as a business. Whether your utility operates as a municipal enterprise fund or is a self-sustaining utility, you are well aware of the challenges to operating efficiently. The purpose of my bi-weekly e-mail is to share thoughts and ideas that I have come across in my 30 plus years of working with municipalities and utilities and assisting them in becoming more efficient and reducing costs.

Does your website work as hard as your employees?

One of my job responsibilities is demonstrating Logics’ Eagle Utility Management software for prospective customers. Before each demo I like to customize the point-of-sale receipt to print the utility’s name, address and phone number. I also use the prospect’s office address as the service address of my test account so that the mapping tab will display a map to the utility. To accomplish this, I do a web search for the utility and visit their website.

I am frequently surprised at how difficult it is to find the office address on some utility websites. This leads to the question of “what is the purpose of your website?”. It seems to me that a good website should, at a minimum, provide easy access to the following information:

  • Office address
  • Driving directions to your office
  • Office hours
  • Phone numbers
  • Requirements to apply for service
  • Different ways your customers can pay
  • Frequently asked questions

If your website doesn’t easily answer these questions for your customers, they are going to pick up the phone and call your office. Why burden your customer service staff with answering such mundane questions as how to find your office or what are your office hours when your website can do this for you?

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© 2011 Gary Sanders