Municipal finance study: dissatisfied customers results in billing queries

| 0 Comments
past-due-invoice.jpgScholarly research into the payment habits of City of Johannesburg (COJ) Municipality customers has linked non-payment of accounts to customers’ queries and dissatisfaction with services.
In his Master’s thesis which explores the potential relationship between the accuracy of municipal bills and the propensity of customers to pay them, UNISA School of Business Leadership student and Deputy Director of Back Office support at the City of Johannesburg Boleu Mohlala found that where customer queries are prevalent, payment behaviour deteriorates, he told SmartProcurement

Mohlala conducted his research under the tutelage of noted Supply Chain expert Dr. Douglas Boateng.

Using regression analysis, Mohlala identified relationships between customers’ problem types and their payment behaviours across a sample of 320 queries logged with the COJ call centre in April 2009.

“The results of this study indicate that there is a statistically significant relationship between account queries and account payment,” explains Mohlala. “Non-payment of monthly service accounts has a direct relationship with the number of billing queries logged with the call centre; furthermore, numerous billing queries logged by customers has a direct effect on dissatisfaction,” he explains.

The ultimate impact is that the municipality is unable to collect as effectively as it might.

Among the pressing challenges faced by municipalities nationwide is the all-important issue of effective revenue collection. Without diligent control of payments from citizens for services rendered, municipalities will grind to a halt as their sustainability is compromised.

What also emerged from Mohlala’s research is that meter reading inputs have a direct effect on monthly electricity consumption disputes and, hence, overall account payment behaviour. As a consequence of this finding, Mohlala believes improved control of the meter reading function may be necessary, with a focus on facilitating rapid and accurate information exchange.

“This function presently resides with outside contractors. It is perhaps necessary to look at the quality of service rendered by the outsourced contractors, starting with fieldwork, through to IT and communication systems,” he notes.

Bolue Mohlala.jpgMohlala says billing errors often cause COJ customers to talk to support-service personnel in the billing department. This, he contends, indicates discontentment with the billing supply chain management.

“This raised the question of how customers view the support service within the supply chain, between them and billing department managers. Since the customer is the ultimate judge of the billing supply chain management’s performance, effective and timely response to customer query resolution becomes an essential component of success within billing,” he says.

Mahlala says important considerations for improving customer satisfaction of the residents of a municipality include:

• A correct bill for every service a customer has consumed.
• Each service element needs to be distinct.
• A combination of the services bill must be easily interpreted.
• Overlap among service elements should be reduced so that customers do not pay more than once for the same portion of a service consumed.

Dr Douglas Boateng.gifThe identification of relationships such as this within the billing supply chain contributes to an improved understanding of the factors that influence customers’ account payment behaviours, says Mohlala’s study leader Dr. Boateng.

“By understanding such relationships, organisations can accurately focus their attention on remedying issues that can improve contributions, which clearly delivers benefits to that organisation,” says Boateng.

Boateng adds that Mohlala’s research can therefore offer valuable insights to supply chain managers and practitioners not only in municipalities, but also in other industries or vertical markets.

Boleu Mohlala is the Deputy Director of Back Office support at the City of Johannesburg. He holds a BSC Hons from UNISA, an MSC from WITS and an MDP from UNISA SBL. He can be contacted on 011 358 3603.

Leave a comment


 

 

Career opportunites

Tutor and Coordinator

  • Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Permanent Procurement Management Supplier / Business Development
Purpose of the job: To plan, coach, advise

Commodity Manager

  • <500 000 Commodities Gauteng Procurement Management
Are you a Commodity Manager looking for the

Supply Chain Professional

  • <500 000 Gauteng Procurement Management Supply Chain
I specialize in placing professionals in the Supply

Supply Planning

  • <500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Supply Chain
Seeking dynamic candidates to take to the market

Industrial Engineer

  • <500 000 Gauteng Industrial Engineer Procurement Consultant
Are you an Industrial Engineer looking to make

Logistics Manager

  • >500 000 Gauteng Logistics & Warehousing Supply Chain
Seeking vibrant industry specific individuals seeking new opportunities

Operations Manager

  • <500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Procurement Management
Looking for an Operations Manager to take into

Supply Chain Systems Administrator

  • >500 000 Gauteng Procurement Management Strategic Sourcing Supply Chain
One of South Africa's leading, mining companies is

Logistics Manager

  • <500 000 Gauteng Logistics & Warehousing Procurement Management
Are you an experienced Logistics Manager looking for

Continuous Improvement Manager

  • >500 000 Gauteng Procurement Management Supply Chain
I specialize in placing professionals in the Supply

Warehouse Assistant

  • <500 000 Gauteng Logistics & Warehousing Operations, Planning & Inventory
I am currently looking for ambitious Demand Planner,

Internal Procurement Officer

  • <500 000 Gauteng Permanent Procurement Officer / Specialist Strategic Sourcing
Position Available: Internal Procurement Officer Status : New ...More

Supply Chain Officer

  • <500 000 Gauteng Procurement Officer / Specialist Supply Chain
Seeking dynamic candidates to take to the market

Supply Chain Planner

  • <500 000 Free State Operations, Planning & Inventory Supply Chain
Seeking dynamic candidates to take to the market

Senior Buyer

  • >500 000 Buyer Gauteng Procurement Management
Tech-Pro specialises in placing professionals in the Supply

Industrial Engineer

  • <500 000 Gauteng Industrial Engineer
Tech-Pro specialises in placing professionals in the Supply

Warehouse Manager

  • >500 000 Gauteng Logistics & Warehousing Operations, Planning & Inventory Supply Chain
Seeking hands on individuals that come from an

Manufacturing Purchasing Specialist

  • >500 000 Procurement Officer / Specialist Supply Chain Western Cape
A leading auto manufacture company based in Cape

Procurement Sourcing Specialist

  • <500 000 Gauteng Procurement Consultant Strategic Sourcing
A Leader in the Supply Chain industry is

Planning Manager

  • >500 000 Gauteng Operations, Planning & Inventory Procurement Management
Looking for Planning Managers to take into the