How Robert dramatically improved Customer Service at SAWS 

through Managing with Metrics.

By: Brian W. Morton | April 20, 2017

In 2016 Robert Vasquez, MBA took on a leadership role responsible for improving customer service within SAWS, a 100+ year public utility company serving 1.6 million people in the San Antonio metro, he found a 50 seat contact center struggling to respond to customer call volumes.

With one in five customers abandoning their calls Robert leveraged his Work Force Management skills and analyzed every aspect of the customer journey and how they were servicing their customers. His highly strategic recommendations incorporated a fundamental rethinking the role of the SAWS contact center, how the team’s skillsets were managed and most importantly how agents and supervisors are trained to solve customer problems.

Key Challenges

  • 10 minute wait time resulting in over 20% abandonment
  • Agents rarely resolved problems and viewed role as pass through to other departments
  • Staffing shortages and skillset deficiencies
  • Manual (Excel Worksheet) WFM resulting in labor and skill mismatches
  • Training programs not connected to the realities of the floor
  • Low morale and poor attendance

Robert’s Action Plan

  • Retool Call Handling for quicker responses. Call flow refined
  • Redefine agent roles and responsibilities, becoming problem solvers
  • Provide the tools and empower the agent to solve customer problems
  • Evaluate current team - redefine hiring objectives with a focus on past Contact Center experience
  • Implemented WFM (Calabrio) to optimize scheduling and better skill set management
  • Retrain all Agents and Supervisors to eliminate inconsistencies between training and floor
  • Each leader in Robert’s organization is responsible for two new improvement ideas – presented semi-annually


  • Call Abandonment Rates went from 21% to 3%
  • 75% of customer calls answered under 1 minute.
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Agent retention became a “short term” challenge with over two thirds of the legacy agents uncomfortable with the new role
  • New team enjoying high morale and stable attendance

Next steps

  • Omni Channel. Driving Self-Service while recognizing that many customers in San Antonio prefer a face to face or phone transaction.

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