CONSUMERS of the Metropolitan Cebu Water District (MCWD) can now immediately access information like scheduled and emergency service interruptions, bill balances and status of applications through a simple telephone call.
An interactive voice response (IVR) system has been put in place by the MCWD management in order to give their consumers 24/7 access to these information.
In the new system, customers can just call their hotline number 254-8434 where they will have an option to press 1 for scheduled and emergency interruptions, press 2 for bill inquiries and press 5 for the status of their new applications.
“In 2016, for the whole year, we saw that only 30 percent of the average number of calls handled were answered by our personnel,” said MCWD spokesperson Charmaine Rodriguez-Kara in a press conference on Monday.
Limitations like the number of trunklines and customer service agents led to this problem last year. In 2016, MCWD recorded an average of 78 complaints in a month.
The new telephony system was installed by MCWD starting last mid-July. For the whole month of August, Kara said they monitored the new system and observed that the number of calls handled increased to 45 percent by just introducing the new technology.
She said responding to customers’ queries has become faster and that customers won’t have to personally visit MCWD and pay for transport or parking fees just to follow up on their bills or on the status of their applications.
MCWD Information Technology Department Manager Rommel Yu said the new telephony system is an upgraded version of the MCWD’s hotline system which has been in place since 2003.
Before, there were only 15 channels for outgoing and incoming calls. But the new system now allows up to 60 outgoing and incoming calls at the same time so that MCWD can entertain more calls.
Yu added that nine more options will soon be added to the three options that have been introduced already.
Another feature of the new system is the “follow me” wherein if a caller cannot connect to a certain local number in MCWD because they are not in their office, the call will be forwarded to the mobile phone number of a MCWD official concerned after six rings, with no additional cost to the caller.
According to Cloyd Dedicatoria, owner of 7Core, the supplier of the telephony system, MCWD is the first local utility in the Visayas to employ such technology.
Kara said that MCWD continues to look for more innovations in its services. For one, she said they will soon be rolling out a text blast feature wherein customers will be able to receive text messages if their area is affected by a scheduled or emergency interruption.
She added that they are also in talks with banks to make online payment of bills and other MCWD fees available for their consumers.
Meanwhile, Kara also assured that water supply in Metro Cebu is still normal.
“We are still producing 227 cubic meters of water per day. In our daily production, this is considered normal. Our surface water sources like the Jaclupan and Buhisan facilities are still at normal production,” she said.
However, she clarified that some areas may still be able to experience water supply interruptions especially those considered as hotspots since they are located in elevated places or in interior areas.
Kara advised that these consumers should immediately store water during the times when there is water supply so that when it stops, they still have a supply on their own to use.