Energy and Utilities
Keeping the customer happy
NDPL has deployed a CRM that has helped it manage customer
complaints through a single window. The application has also helped increase
revenues, and sped up the process of sanctioning utility connections. Kusum
HoD, IT NDPL
New Delhi Power Limited (NDPL), like most public service organisations, was
reeling under a deluge of customer complaints. The company was formed in July
2002 with a clear mandate to reduce aggregate technical and commercial losses
in its area of operations, and provide consumers with reliable and quality power
backed by excellent services.
In November 2004, the NDPL IT team developed a CRM application called Sampark
to address customer grievances and improve satisfaction levels. The Sampark
CRM is a client-server application developed on the .NET platform using Visual
Basic .NET and Oracle 9i as database. Further, it used ADO.NET-based Data Access
Prior to implementing Sampark, there was no workflow to handle
connection, billing and metering-related issues or requests. There was no pre-defined
system for assigning tasks to a group or a person and no list of tasks required
to be carried out for closing a request. Data was scattered across many databases
and no single interface provided a omprehensive and complete picture of the
Over the last three years NDPL has invested over Rs
650 crore to overhaul and strengthen its distribution network and improve consumer
services; considerable emphasis was laid on providing a robust IT system and
infrastructure, says Akhil Pandey, HoD, IT, NDPL.
Project: A home-grown project for Consumer
Relationship Management, Sampark is developed by NDPL in-house.
Date started: October 2004
Date completed: November 2004
Project objective: The project facilitates
the logging and tracking of consumer requests and grievances related to
electricity connections, billing and metering in line.
Project Innovation: The unique feature of
this application is that it offers a snapshot of consumer requests with
a complete picture of various stages. The consumer care executive is able
to view the details of the request flow while responding to the consumer
for a registered complaint.
There are 400 touch points at which a consumer can register his request
and query the status as well.
A Hundred Offices
The application Sampark runs in over 100 offices of NDPL spread over 512 square
kilometres of North and North-West Delhi. An initiative has been taken to leverage
the benefits of legacy technology as the database, servers and links (leased
line and ISDN) were inherited from the old system as a baseline infrastructure.
A broadband VPN set-up has been established at all locations with the leased
lines as a fallback. The old data storage mechanismDirect Access Storage
or DAShas been replaced with a Fibre Channel SAN (Storage Area Network)
including the implementation of an ISA firewall for data security. The technologies
and infrastructure used in building and successfully implementing the application
are SAN-data storage, broadband VPN and fibre optic connectivity atop which
runs the Microsoft .NET application.
We are also using component-based technology which helps in reducing development
time and standardising the application, says Pandey.
It can be made available on every computer in the organisation, making it possible
for any employee to log-in, check the status of a particular consumer complaint
and even register one, if required. Thus, effectively, the number of customer
touch points has increased manifold; any employee can service any consumer.
Consumers need not approach only consumer care centres for any request or issue;
they can be served at any NDPL office.
The Sampark CRM system provides a simple and user-friendly interface with an
integrated notepad, which helps NDPL officials to add their comments on the
progress of consumer requests. This mechanism is also helpful in analysing the
consumers behaviour pattern over time. Sampark, in a single window, provides
key customer details such as the entire consumer history including billing,
consumption pattern, payments, meter reading, enforcement details, and past
complaints, if any. It generates a brief summary at the click of a mouse. The
application also has an online search facility based on consumer number, request
number, name and so on. Additionally, a detailed MIS report facility is also
available to the employee for mapping the overall performance of the application.
Sampark converges with the NDPL Web site, therefore the consumer can view
the status of a request or complaint online, explains Pandey.
Easy Tracking Of Customer Grievances
Sampark facilitates the logging and tracking of consumer requests or grievances
related to connections, billing and metering in line with the strategic objective
of keeping the consumer satisfied. Once a request is logged in Sampark from
any NDPL help-line desk, consumer care centre or zonal office, it is then automatically
forwarded to the concerned department and official for action. If there is a
default then it is automatically escalated to the next level. The consumer can
learn the status of his complaint at all stages from customer care executives.
The unique feature of the application is that it provides a snapshot of consumer
requests with a complete picture of various stages of the process. A consumer
care executive is able to view the details of the request flow while responding
to the consumer for a registered complaint. The progress of movement of a request
across various process owners can be tracked at any point of time. The bottlenecks
in progress can be identified, resulting in fine-tuning of the resolution process.
The software is configured to store the days-to-resolution, and escalation to
the next authority is triggered automatically once the resolution time elapses.
|The Other Nominee
- BPCL was the other nominee in the infrastructure
Prior to this implementation, consumer contact points
were limited to consumer care centres at district offices. Those were not very
efficient in retrieving information and handling workflow management,
explains Pandey. Now there are more than 400 touch points through which a consumer
can register requests and query status. Another unique thing about this project
is the integration and easy availability of various data. This provides an exhaustive
picture of consumer information related to connection management, billing and
metering management. It helps the customer care executive to respond immediately
to the consumer query and interact efficiently.
Faster Response Time
Earlier, the turnaround time for processing a new connection request from the
day it was received to actual connection took up to a month. After implementing
Sampark, this has been cut down to just seven days. In addition, the average
customer redressal duration fell from 38 to 12 days.
Says Akhil Pandey, HoD, IT, NDPL: "It feels
great to win an award especially with all the challenges that we faced
in a city like Delhi. Our efforts to keep our customers happy have been
recognised by the industry as well."
The system provides integrated information about the consumer
by fetching data from various sources. For customer care executives, there is
a single centralised view of consumer information. NDPL is the first power distribution
utility company which has implemented an internally-developed consumer relations
Increased Revenue Generation
NDPL saw a six percent increase in their overall revenues, which translates
into Rs 19.10 crore. Around 400 employees and 9.1 lakh customers have benefited
from the application.
Currently, Sampark is accessible only to customer care executives, call centre
executives and senior officers in the organisation. The major obstacle to making
it available to all employees is network connectivity. NDPL is laying fibre
optic cable as a backbone network.
The challenge is to avoid human intervention and develop intelligent systems.
We wanted to build a secure system with controls to arrest accidental
or intentional errors with traceability. It was important to have the inbuilt
flexibility to facilitate changes made by an authorised user, says Pandey.
Up next: customers can log their requests online
The future scope of this application is to provide an interface to consumers
to log their requests on the Internet. The system can send an acknowledgement
and details about the request status. The scope of Sampark can be increased
by integrating it with Sarthi, which is presently used as an employee help-line
or single window customer redressal desk for handling all establishment-related
(personal) issues or grievances and enquiries. Sampark can respond within the
stipulated period through e-mail, SMS or phone after action is taken by the
concerned department personnel.