Client Case Study: Rincon del Diablo

Industry: Utility District
Location: Escondido, California
Number of Employees: 21
Number of Customers: Approx. 30,000
Tyler Client Since: 2016
Tyler Products Used: Incode® Utility Billing, Financial Management and Personnel Management
Contact: www.rinconwater.org

Located in California’s Greater Escondido Valley, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District continuously strives to improve the level of service they provide to nearly 30,000 residents and businesses. When the district received notice their legacy software of more than 20 years was being phased out, they took the news as an opportunity to find a solution that could better meet the needs of both their employees and their customers. They found what they were looking for with Tyler’s Incode® solution.

“We selected Incode because it was a comprehensive solution to our enterprise resource planning needs,” said Director of Administration and Finance Tish Berge. “We truly appreciate and see tremendous benefit from having our financial, personnel and utility billing all in the same system.”

Because Rincon del Diablo chose Incode as a single-vendor, integrated solution, the implementation process touched every department and employee across the district. Abiding by Tyler’s best practices, the implementation was performed in phases: first with financial and personnel management, followed by utility billing. “We found Tyler’s rigorous and comprehensive vetting of data during implementation to be a very effective approach,” Berge said. “We implemented Incode at the same time as many peers implemented other software and we have found that this quality of data and data verification is not a given with other systems.”

Berge said the benefit the district has seen since going live with Incode in 2016 is twofold: their business processes are more efficient and their customers are better served.

Streamlined Processes Increase Staff Efficiency and Visibility

Since implementing Incode, the staff at Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District have leveraged their new, integrated system to automate many of their previously manual processes.

Without an integrated system, the district’s billing processes required staff to perform unique queries to download account data from their existing database to Microsoft® Excel®, then format and manipulate that data for upload into a separate system for billing and customer communication.

“When we went to the board and asked them to consider funding a new system, we talked a lot about the importance of having everything connected,” Berge said. “We had the vision that everything would be in one database. We’re thrilled that all of our billing is now performed using Incode.”

From initial bills to late notices and past-due IVR calls, all of Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District’s billing functions can now be performed in one system. An added benefit of this, Berge said, is the amount of visibility staff now have into their data.

We selected Tyler’s Incode software because it was a comprehensive solution to our enterprise resource planning needs. We truly appreciate and see tremendous benefit from having our financial, personnel and utility billing all in the same system.

Tish Berge

Director of Administration and Finance

In compliance with the California Water Code, Rincon del Diablo must attempt to contact customers 48 hours prior to terminating their service for nonpayment. Finding proof of this notification was particularly cumbersome in their previous system, which required staff to create an Excel file of outstanding accounts, upload it, and log in to a separate system to see if the person got the notification call. With Incode, employees now have insight into important information such as date and time of a call, whether a call went through and if a message was left.

“It feels so good to be confident in knowing we attempted to notify and inform our customers of how their individual notification process occurred,” Berge said.

In addition to IVR calls, Rincon del Diablo has also rolled out text messaging as another way to inform their customers of late notices and termination.

“Our water service terminations for non-payment are the lowest they’ve been in years,” Berge said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the text notifications have something to do with that.”

Real-Time Data Access Improves Customer Service

The staff at Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District understand that customer expectations are always growing. This was especially apparent when their water users attempted to access their account information online. Although the water district was using a bill payment and presentment solution, the data available to customers was only a snapshot of the information provided on their monthly bills and became outdated immediately.

“The information available on our previous customer website didn’t represent current account status,” Berge said. “We received numerous complaints about this ‘antiquated’ system, which only showed payments made online, not by mail or in the office. Incode allowed us to meet the growing expectations of our customers while improving our image.”

Today, payments are updated in the system as soon as they’re completed – whether online, in person or by mail – and customers have access to up-to-date information like transaction and consumption history at their fingertips.

“Having live access to data is a big win for our customers,” said Management Analyst and Project Manager Andrew Stibal. “They can see the same activity from the customer portal that our employees see on theirs, so we can walk through their bill line item by line item. We’re also able to encourage them to be more proactive in accessing their information online.”

Integrated Applications Lead to Direct Cost Savings

With Incode, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District has seen cost savings and efficiencies across their organization.

  • Payroll processing is now performed in-house with Incode’s integrated Personnel Management generating an annual cost savings of $5,500 or approximately $250 per employee.
  • Multiple services can now be combined on a single account, leading to a decrease in the number of bills generated and a 9 percent reduction in bill printing and mailing costs.
  • Financial packets can now be generated in 5 days compared to 10 days in their legacy system.
  • Eliminated the one-time cost of purchasing a new server by choosing to implement Incode as a hosted solution, allowing increased network security and confidence in producing future budgets.
  • Reduced fees charged to customers by 22 percent with Tyler Insight system for credit card payments.

Looking Ahead

In the future, Rincon del Diablo Municipal Water District hopes to expand upon its relationship with Tyler by once again giving their customers the ability to pay by phone, as well as rolling out mobile service orders with Tyler’s EnerGov solution.

We’re still discovering ways that the software can provide better efficiency by leveraging its many capabilities. Some of these benefits weren’t expected when we selected Incode, but instead were identified and realized after implementation. By being involved in Tyler Community and taking advantage of Tyler University, our team stays up to date on the many new advances in our software, thus allowing us to leverage them for our customers’ benefit.

Tish Berge

Director of Administration and Finance

In the meantime, they’re enjoying the user-friendliness and transparency of Incode and the support they’re receiving with Tyler.

“One thing we heard over and over again when we were selecting a vendor was how outstanding Tyler’s customer service is,” Berge said. “Anybody can pick up the phone and get through to someone who’s knowledgeable and responsive and can assist them with how to use the system, which has helped us through many of the challenges associated with implementing a new ERP system.”

Case Study Highlights

  • Reduced customer fees by 22% and shortened wait time
  • Reduced bill printing and mailing costs by 9%
  • $5,500 in annual savings from payroll processing

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