An Australian water utility has been named the customer service organisation of the year in the government and not-for-profit category at the Australian Service Excellence Awards.

Yarra Valley Water provides essential services to two million people across Melbourne, and the win reflects significant increases in customer satisfaction.

Yarra Valley Water Managing Director, Pat McCafferty, said that receiving the award was a great honour, and reflected the hard work and passion that the Yarra Valley Water customer care team channels into their work every day.

“The wellbeing of our customers goes to the heart of our business which is why this award is a great honour for our diligent, front line staff who work tirelessly to provide a positive customer experience,” Mr McCafferty said.

“These staff members deal with a number of complex and unpredictable situations every day and do a wonderful job of ensuring that when a customer contacts us they leave with the answers they need and that the experience is as easy as possible.”

In 2019, Yarra Valley Water’s customer service teams received training to help them assist customers who may be affected by family violence.

Internal customer support systems were also upgraded to better respond to family violence risks.

This included the addition of practical measures such as safety flags which help to identify and provide assistance to customers who may be at risk of family violence.

Mr McCafferty said that family violence and financial abuse is a very real problem that faces utility customers.

“We saw a real need to ensure our staff, particularly those working in customer service, are well-equipped to support customers who may be at risk by recognising the signs of family violence and being able to deal with these situations effectively,” Mr McCafferty said.

“We look forward to building on this work so that we can continue to stand out in our customer’s eyes as a great organisation to deal with.”

Charlotte Pordage is Editor of Utility magazine, a position she has held since November 2018. She joined the team as an Associate Editor in October 2017, after sharpening her writing and editing skills across a range of print and digital publications. Charlotte graduated from Royal Holloway, University of London, in 2011 with joint honours in English and Latin. When she's not putting together Australia's only dedicated utility magazine, she can usually be found riding her horse or curled up with a good book.

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