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WaterSmart Software Response to COVID-19

By Ali Barsamian
COVID-19-01

Presently, we are in an unprecedented time and each day we are exposed to new information related to the COVID-19 virus.  The confusion and uncertainty surrounding the disease can certainly be unsettling. First and foremost, our thoughts are with those around the world who’ve been impacted by the virus. We are hoping for safety and health for all. Thus far, the COVID-19 virus has not been detected in drinking water. It is our understanding that standard water treatment methods used for filtering and disinfecting water, such as those in most municipal drinking water systems, should remove or inactivate pathogens causing COVID-19.

At WaterSmart, the health and safety of our employees, customers, partners and communities is a significant concern for us.  We are a technology company, and like many other firms we have taken proactive steps to help minimize the exposure and potential spread of COVID-19, and we are confident in our ability to abide by local public health policies while continuing to ensure seamless continuity of operations for our customers.

WaterSmart has developed a three-pronged approach to help navigate the current environment.

To support our utility partners and their customers:
In order to remain transparent about possible service interruptions and help minimize confusion, a large number of our partner utilities are using Group Messenger to communicate facility closure information and health-related updates with their customers.  The Group Messenger module allows utilities to send unlimited timely updates to their communities via email, text and voice channels.

WaterSmart delivers a suite of customer self-service solutions to support utility staff in providing 24/7 real time customer service to their consumers while minimizing face-to-face interactions and maximizing information exchange. Customers will continue to have the ability to view and pay bills through WaterSmart’s deep payment integrations with leading electronic bill payment vendors. Additionally, customers can submit critical forms and service requests to their utilities if they are in need of immediate support.

As utilities may begin to have smaller numbers of staff in the office limiting their ability to handle inbound customer calls, the WaterSmart Customer Portal and associated automated alerts and notifications will provide consistent service and answers to the most common service-related questions. Closed-loop Leak Resolution and Bill Explainer provide the information necessary for customers to self-resolve their issues without needing to rely on their utility’s presence.    
 
To assure employees are safe and productive:
The health and safety of all employees is critical to the continuity of operations. A major strategy being shared with all is to quarantine in place. Effective March 14, 2020, WaterSmart asked all employees throughout the country to work from home through the end of March to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure that we provide continuous service to our partners. This also means limiting face to face meetings and travel across all roles at WaterSmart.
 
WaterSmart has the tools in place to facilitate effective work-from-home using Zoom, Slack, and cloud tools on our secured VPN. All of our employees are equipped with laptops and the systems to be fully productive from wherever they are. Because our platform, phone and communication systems all run in the cloud, employees can work from anywhere without interruption. 
 
To promise business continuity of the WaterSmart platform:
As a fully cloud-based SaaS company, you can rest assured that the performance of our platform will not be impacted. In addition, the cloud-based processing of all utility data will continue to occur across our utility ecosystem. Our skilled engineering team is capable of securely accessing data and systems necessary from anywhere, and WaterSmart has a business continuity plan in place for any contingencies. This also means the WaterSmart Platform is available to utility staff who are temporarily working from home who typically rely on systems that are only available on premises. WaterSmart access is available to any off-site employees on any web-enabled computer using the same login information they normally use to access WaterSmart at their office desks.

The WaterSmart Customer Success team will continue to provide digital support via regular email communication channels and the live chat solution in our Utility Analytics Dashboard. At WaterSmart we will remain committed to execution, ensuring we continue to provide world class customer service; our commitments to our utility partners will not change. As a result, we do not anticipate any disruption in our ability to deliver our software, customer engagement products and services to our utility partners.

If you have questions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to WaterSmart via info@watersmart.com or through your WaterSmart Customer Success Manager. We share the concern that many in our communities are experiencing. We are committed to being responsive to the needs of our utility partners and employees as the situation evolves.

For those looking for more resources, we encourage you to check AWWA’s list of COVID-19 resources which include links to exemplary utility business continuity plans, emergency response best practices, and other emergency preparedness tips.


Lastly, thank you to all of the hard-working utility staff that are continuing to put the community ahead of themselves and assure continuous access to safe and clean drinking water. We appreciate you and your dedication!

Posted in Did you know?, utility software, utility resilience, In the News

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