The myStafford Customer Portal: An Award Winning Solution
Prior to the creation and implantation of a streamlined portal, Stafford County, Virginia's Department of Utilities was mailing water and sewer bills to approximately 2,000 customers per day – a total of over 400,000 bills per year. Spanning multiple departments, an initial online services and bill payment procedure for Stafford County required users to conduct multiple account lookups and perform redundant data entry for each payment. It was agreed that this process was cumbersome both for citizens and the county. Demand from citizens and businesses clamored for an easier way to view and pay bills from their homes and mobile devices.
A solution was born when the Stafford County's Treasurer's Office, the Department of Utilities, and Virginia Interactive teamed up to launch the new myStafford Customer Portal, a bill presentment and payment solution based in a strong interactive online experience for utilities customers. Utilities customers can view and pay bills online, 24/7, and receive email notification when bills are available for viewing.
The hard and soft costs for creating, updating and processing bills, plus collecting payments, demonstrated the need for an automated web-based solution to streamline the existing manual processes. Departmental collaboration and strategic partnerships spurred the implementation of a bill presentment and payment portal, where customers can interact conveniently and securely to view and pay their various bills online with a single login. The convenience and ease to the customer, and significant efficiency gains to Stafford County, were primary results of this teamwork.
Additionally, the Commissioner of the Revenue was managing fiduciary remittances for meals tax, transient occupancy tax, consumption and utility taxes, and quarterly fiduciary remittances for short term rental tax through a mostly manual process business. Finally, a third entity, the Stafford County Treasurer's Office processed extremely large payment transaction volumes daily including utility payments, business tax payments, Personal Property Tax payments, Real Estate Tax payments and Dog License fees. All these concerns have been brought to bear under one roof; the Treasurer's office alone is saving an average of $1.00 per transaction, with a 40% reduction in call volume, through the Virginia Interactive led solution. The myStafford Customer Portal has covered ground addressing many concerns – and picked up a number of awards along the way. Soft launched in August 2013, over 4,000 users registered their Utilities accounts online in the first three months with 1,500 signing up to receive e-notifications, and over 745,000 bills paid to date. The myStafford portal has been recognized as a 2016 NACo Achievement Award Winner, as well be being honored by received awards from StateScoop 50, VOFOA, COVITS, and the Bright Idea Awards.
Teamwork between the needs of clients, their users, and an experienced provider like Virginia Interactive is essential for creating the interfaces and experiences that respect and reward each individual. With Stafford County's Department of Utilities, the results, and awards, speak for themselves.
- Soft launched in August 2013, over 4,000 users registered their Utilities accounts online in the first three months with 1,500 signing up to receive e-notifications and over 745,000 bills paid.
- Department of Utilities has saved $.61 per e-bill in the production and postage costs of paper bills.
- Treasurer's Office has enjoyed reduced manual payment processing costs, saving on average $1.00 per online payment.
- Now serving over 40,000 registered customers including over 9,500 enrolled for e-billing making more than 9,000 payments per month, the portal has created over $177,000 in annual cost savings for the County.
- Prior to the myStafford implementation, the Treasurer's Office answered over 49,000 customer service calls annually. Since 2013, incoming calls have decreased by 40%.
- Over $110,480,000 processed since