MELISSA — To accommodate advanced training that promises to significantly improve the customer experience, members of the Utility Billing and Development Services Departments will close their offices all of Tuesday, July 30 and the first half of Wednesday, July 31.

The training is being conducted by Fathom, the highly-experienced utility consulting company which has a service contract with the city of Melissa. The company provides automatic meter reading, utility billing and collection services to clients nationwide, including Melissa’s Utility Billing Department.

Utility Billing personnel will undergo training in Fathom’s Customer Information System, the company’s proprietary program that uses technology to improve customer service operations, increase customer engagement and add more bill-payment opportunities.

“The City is always looking for ways to enhance the customer experience,” Administrative Services Manager Carrie Mikeska said in a press release on the closure. “The unprecedented level of residential growth that Melissa is experiencing now, and will be experiencing in the near future, essentially requires us to be at the leading edge of technology, and this training from Fathom will help get us there.”

In addition to her other duties, Mikeska has overall responsibility for the Utility Billing Department.

Overlaying the customer service enhancements that will result from the training in the Customer Information System, the staff will also be trained on a new Point of Sale system that will allow payments to be processed in real time. This is a departure from the current system that involves a lag between the time a payment is authorized until the payment is recorded as paid.

“We have been listening to our customers, and this is one area that has come up several times,” Mikeska said. “Customers want to be assured that when they authorize payment, that it is promptly recorded in our office as paid. The new system will give us that capability.”

The day-and-a-half closure should have no effect on the ability of customers to pay their bills or conduct business at either Utility Billing or Development Services. Utility bills are due on July 18, well before the closure dates. Any disconnections for non-payment will not occur until Aug. 5.

Conversely, residential permits are accommodated online and processed through the MyGov system.

“We’ve worked to schedule the training to occur when it is the least disruptive to our customers,” Mikeska said.