City council receives update from FATHOM rep
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove city council heard the third quarterly update from a Fathom representative during its regular meeting held Tuesday evening.
FATHOM representative Brad Drier guided council members through a presentation showing call statistics for Copperas Cove for the months of June, July and August. The presentation showed 2,800 total calls in June, 2,829 total calls in July and 2,876 total calls in August. In June, 1.86 percent of calls were abandoned while in July, 1.59 percent were abandoned and in August, 2.02 percent of calls were abandoned. The average speed of answer was between 12 and 26 seconds. In June, 305 tickets were created and 266 were solved. In July, 368 tickets were created, with 421 solved. In August, 338 tickets were created and 308 were solved.
The bulk of calls are for billing inquiries, making payments, move in/move out, making payment arrangements and reconnecting after being disconnected for nonpayment.
“Those are the key reasons for calls, and we want to continue to talk about how we can drive some of those calls down,” Drier said.
Of the more than 2,800 calls in August, 23 percent of the calls were in regard to billing inquiries, 21 percent were for disconnects due to nonpayment, 18 percent were for payments and another 18 percent were for move in/move out calls.
Drier said that less than one-half percent of all calls in Copperas Cove are escalations.
Mayor Bradi Diaz asked Drier about a problem her tenants are facing when they call in about not having water despite paying their bills. She said they are being told that FATHOM can’t answer their questions and to call their landlord instead.
“It’s not me that’s turned off their water,” Diaz said. “They’re on city water.”
Drier said he would look into it but didn’t have an immediate answer.
Another thing noted by Drier was that the registration rate for the online customer portal has increased by two percent in the past three months, with a total registration rate of 54 percent continuing to outpace the industry average of 20 to 25 percent at the end of year one.
Changes in support to customer service included the addition of an Operations Business Manager that have a lead, also called a Support Agent III, plus six dedicated representatives and an analyst. There is also a “peak team” consisting of seven people that steps in when call volumes get high and handle elevated tickets and all Spanish calls. The peak time is typically at the beginning and end of the month.
Other changes from an oversight standpoint include a new Director of Operations who manages the regional directors, a new position called the Director of Data Management and a Regional Director.
Council member Jay Manning asked about whether FATHOM would consider renegotiating concerning the contract stipulation about excess call volume and the city being charged a fee for each excess call.
Per the contract, if the call volume exceeds 10 percent of the total billed customers, the city will be charged a fee of $10 per call for each excess call. For 10 months, Copperas Cove has not had to pay for excess call volumes but has prepared for that to come in the FY 2019-2020 budget.
Drier said that there will be more conversations between FATHOM and the city of Copperas Cove before any fees are leveraged. He added that he is acting as an advocate for Copperas Cove and communication with FATHOM to find a solution that works for both Copperas Cove and FATHOM.