A good knowledge of the business and a genuine desire to help customers is what led Goulburn-Murray Water’s Mark Halden and Geoff Simkin into the role of customer relationship consultant.
Both followed a similar path into their work as a CRC, starting out as water bailiffs and then undertaking various project management roles, including stints with the Connections project.
The CRC role was introduced at G-MW six years ago, not long after the Connections project began.
Currently, CRCs service the Torrumbarry, Loddon Valley, Rochester, Central Goulburn, Shepparton and Murray Valley areas.
These regional CRCs provide tailored customer service face-to-face and over the phone and assist with account management, troubleshooting and transactional assistance and other customer inquiries.
They are also located in Tatura to work collaboratively with customer support teams on projects that improve G-MW’s customer service across the whole area of operations.
CRCs also provide customer feedback and ideas for changes and improvement to ensure all of G-MW’s programs and services are meeting the changing needs of its customers.
Mr Simkin, whose service with G-MW spans about 40 years, said these various roles had held him in good stead to understand customer needs and issues in the Murray Valley irrigation area.
‘‘Having that local knowledge does help, as I know a lot of the history of the area and properties as well as the channel network,’’ he said.
‘‘It makes a difference in being able to help the customer as often their issues or queries are very localised and specific to their property — sometimes simple problems can be hard to fix and I’ve found there is no one size fits all.’’
Mr Halden, who assists customers in the Central Goulburn irrigation area, agreed and said customer queries varied between large irrigators and smaller domestic and stock property owners.
‘‘We assist customers big and small for all of their water needs, whether that’s helping with transferring water share entitlements, talking them through carryover and risk of spill or just generally explaining things and discussing their options,’’ he said.
‘‘Post unbundling (when water entitlements were able to be held or sold separately from land), the way water is arranged can be very complex.
‘‘There’s so many ways to set things up and sometimes customers just want to better understand this so they can decide what works for them.’’
Mr Simkin said he enjoyed working as a CRC because he often got to go out into the field to meet with customers face to face at their properties, which allowed him to get a good understanding of their business enterprises.
‘‘I’ve been at G-MW for many years but when I go out and talk to people I’m still learning new things every day — there’s been so much change in the industry and what some of the farmers in our region are doing is really quite innovative.’’
A CRC may be able to discuss:
Your water services and account options;
Ordering and using water;
End-of-season carryover and risk of spill;
Land and water transfers;
Water shares and water use licences; and,
Options and processes for subdivisions and amalgamations.