By Taryn Brown, City of Dallas 2015-2017 SAPinsight Leader Board Member.
As a $2 billion municipal enterprise, the City of Dallas has an obligation to build and maintain solid business relationships with our internal business units and our shareholders—the taxpayers.
With the call for reduced government, more openness and a higher level of fiscal responsibility, it is more vital than ever to ensure that we are continually building better business relationships. Some of the ways that we develop relationships are through our SAP, 311 water customer service training and Super User (Subject Matter Experts/SME) development workshops.
The SAP and 311 water customer training programs are paramount because not only are we planting the seeds of goodwill with the internal departments we serve, the people we train are the first point of contact with our customers.
In a recent case study Optimizing the Water Utility Customer Contact Center, by the Water Research Foundation, The City of Dallas was recognized because it was one of the first cities that implemented the 311 system with a water customer service unit that had a dedicated trainer. The benefits that were cited included:
• Better scale – more people, better technology (than if purchased separately),
• Unified call center – shared resources; and
• Improved flow of information to service departments.
Last year our SAP training team conducted over 248 days of training for all new 311 call takers and held SAP Basic Navigation (Basic Nav) and Customer Interaction Center (customer interface) classes across multiple departments. The water customer service classes were streamlined from eight to six weeks and a new on-line version of SAP Basic Nav and the customer interaction center is available to users who want self-service.
In the water customer service training, we teach our agents how to create work orders, technical master data, move-in/move-out processes and other aspects of water operations. Individuals who want a “deeper dive” in the SAP can take advantage of various workshops and lunch and learns. Our training team also develops work instructions and trains on new functionalities in SAP.
The SAP training is the foundation for the majority of our back-office business practices, said Denise Wallace, Senior Program Manager, Revenue & Business Systems Division, Dallas Water Utilities. “The training team provides training support that allows users to focus on daily business operations while new staff (or new functionality) is being trained as a separate function. They help us build a strong SAP foundation.
Our key link to our end users is through our Super User (SMEs) workshops. Our Super Users continue to be valuable players within city government. They are learning new skills such as advanced Excel, problem solving, communications, and improving the adoption of SAP. These skills offer promotional opportunities for these employees.
Our bottom line is we need to continue to build but also maintain solid business relationships so we can all be successful. Training has been a key component.