In the bustling city of Gainesville, Florida, where efficiency meets innovation, Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) embarked on a transformative journey to enhance customer experience and operational efficiency. As the 5th largest municipal electric utility in the state, GRU recognized the need to modernize its systems to better serve its diverse customer base. Through the CIS Replacement Project, GRU not only overcame challenges but also set new standards for customer service excellence.


Challenges and Objectives: Setting the Stage for Change

The project's objectives were clear: to elevate operational excellence and elevate customer satisfaction to unprecedented levels. GRU understood that to achieve these goals, they needed more than just a system upgrade; they needed a comprehensive solution that would revolutionize the way they interacted with their customers.

One of the key challenges GRU faced was the outdated and unsupported legacy CIS system, which hindered the integration of new functionalities and core systems. Additionally, the lack of support for modern technology like AMI limited the utility's ability to innovate and adapt to changing customer needs. Thus, the decision to replace the legacy system was imperative for GRU's growth and sustainability.

The implementation of the new CIS system, coupled with a Customer Self Service Portal and a Mobile Workforce Management system, marked a significant milestone for GRU. However, the road to success was not without its obstacles. GRU had to navigate complex billing processes for metered and non-metered services, ensuring seamless integration and minimal disruption to customer operations.


Strategic Approach: Pioneering Solutions for Success

To address these challenges, GRU adopted a strategic approach focused on three key principles: FastStart Migration, Maximizing Accuracy with Data Migration, and Structured Quality Assurance. By leveraging a SAP-certified methodology, GRU was able to streamline processes, improve data accuracy, and ensure quality at every phase of the project.

FastStart Migration, a migration toolkit built from best practices and benchmarks, accelerated the extraction, transformation, and loading of data. This allowed GRU to use real data throughout the implementation, identifying any functional gaps immediately and addressing them in real-time instead of later at go-live. Maximizing Accuracy with Data Migration reduced the risk of inaccurate data by migrating data early and carrying out extraction, transformation, and load processes multiple times. This granted users early access to the system, resulting in increased familiarity and more successful training sessions. Additionally, adopting a SAP-certified methodology provided GRU with the flexibility to adjust priorities and tasks, critical for the overall success of the project.


Achievements: Redefining Customer Service Excellence

The results speak for themselves. With the new solution in place, GRU saw improvements across various aspects of customer service and productivity. The billing adjustment process became more efficient, allowing staff to categorize volume by age and generate productivity reports. The implementation of a secure web start service reduced manual verification processes, minimizing the risk of loss for the utility.

Furthermore, the Call Center's adoption of AMI Dispatcher positions and cross-training of CSR's led to a significant increase in department productivity and a 200% reduction in turnover. Automated service request reversals and centralized letter templates further streamlined operations, saving time and resources for both GRU and its customers.

Central to GRU's success was its commitment to customer-centricity. By adopting the "We before me" principle, GRU ensured that the voice of its customers was heard and reflected in every aspect of the project. From identifying pain points to implementing solutions, GRU's dedication to total service excellence was unwavering.


Customer-Centricity: The Heart of GRU's Success

As GRU continues to lead by example in the utility industry, it serves as a beacon of innovation and excellence for others to follow. Through its CIS Replacement Project, GRU has not only improved customer experience but also set a new standard for operational efficiency and service excellence. In the ever-evolving landscape of customer service, GRU stands as a testament to the power of innovation, collaboration, and unwavering dedication to customer satisfaction.

In conclusion, the success of GRU's CIS Replacement Project underscores the importance of strategic planning, customer-centricity, and innovation in driving meaningful change. By embracing technology and reimagining traditional processes, GRU has not only transformed its own operations but also set a new benchmark for customer service excellence in the utility industry. As GRU continues to innovate and evolve, it remains committed to its core values of community, family, and total service excellence. With customer satisfaction at the forefront of its mission, GRU is poised to chart a course for future success, inspiring others to follow in its footsteps.


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