4.6 Communicating the Level of Service Agreement
It is critical for the LOS Agreement and the results of tracking progress towards meeting the level of service goals to be communicated to customers. The communication should focus on the external goals - those goals with direct impacts to customers. The goals and progress towards meeting the goals can be communicated to the customers via newsletters, public meetings, billing inserts, posting in a public place (such as a library or city hall), web site, or other approaches the utility thinks will reach its customers. Publicizing how well you are doing toward delivering the services customers want can be extremely valuable in getting support for the rates and fees you charge. It can also open up a dialog regarding changes that will be needed within the utility to meet goals that customers may want, but may not be possible under the current rate structure. This communication to the public should be at least an annually.
Communicating the Level of Service creates a transparency for the utility which can seem somewhat daunting at first but can lead to very positive outcomes. Customers are much more willing to support what they know and understand than what they don't know. The more transparent the operation is, the more likely you are to get customer support and remove suspicion and doubt.
Customer communication should also involve a feedback mechanism so that the utility can receive information back from customers regarding how well they think the utility is doing or regarding how important particular goals are. This feedback can be in the form of customer surveys, input at public meetings, phone calls to random customers, focus groups, or other approaches. The feedback can be used in the process of revising goals as discussed in Section 4.4.