The Long Beach Energy Resources Department is seeking a communicative, interactive, self-service solution to improve engagement, information access, and customer services for our utility customers.
Currently, Long Beach Energy Resources employs about 12-13 customer service representatives to field calls related to City utility bills and services. Some of these calls are similar but require some more contextualization than a simple FAQ. For example, residents often call Energy Resources for air odor or smells thought to be gas and the representatives need to quickly transfer the call to our internal gas leak dispatch to try to quickly determine whether it is a serious gas leak or an air quality issue. Residents also call Energy Resources to investigate the details of their utility bill, establish new service or stop service for move in and move outs, appliance service orders, meter shup off/on before and after fumigation, and payment assistance. To provide alternative resources for customers, they are looking for a simple online tool to help customers calculate their gas bill and to explain why gas prices fluctuate.
Energy Resources seeks a solution that would have the following outcomes:
Questions & Answers
What is a challenge based procurement?
Challenge based procurement lets us as City staff articulate our challenge without prescribing how we want it to be solved. We are asking for tech vendor insights into how we might solve this challenge. If you think you can help, take 30 minutes and fill out our application.
Will the pilot end after 6 months or is there potential for the pilot to carry on?
The timelines have some flexibility but proposers should not expect for the pilot period to last longer than 6 months. The timeline for the pilot project will be finalized during the project scoping process. For questions on transitioning to a larger scale project, see question 5.
What happens with leftover assets after the pilot process?
Any equipment used will not be retained or considered property of the City or participating authorities. All products piloted as part of the Smart City Challenge will be returned at the end of the pilot and/or the partner is expected to remove them in a timely manner.
How does the city plan to transition successful pilots to larger scale projects?
We will have a robust evaluation process that is meant to assess whether the pilot is meeting the City’s strategic goals. If the City chooses to move forward with a larger contract, there is the potential for the opportunity to go through another competitive RFP process.
Can you provide more information regarding the Smart City Initiative?
More information here: http://www.longbeach.gov/smartcity/pilot-programs/2021-smart-city-challenge/
To learn more, proposers may contact Estefania Zavala, Digital Innovation Program Manager at email@example.com and Ryan Kurtzman, Smart City Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How many hours is the vendor expected to allocate on a weekly basis to the City during the pilot phase?
The hourly expectations and schedule for the pilot project will be finalized during the project scoping process.
Is there a stipend or any funds available for the vendor during the pilot period?
If a desired outcome is achieved before the end of the pilot phase can a contract be entered into early?
Yes, after an appropriate and robust evaluation process. If the City chooses to move forward with a larger contract, there is the potential for the opportunity to go through another competitive RFP process.
Who owns the Intellectual Property created?
The solution is owned by the vendor and the City’s data is owned by the City.
Is the City open to accepting solutions that include long-term partnerships with the vendor?
The pilot project should be able to stand alone and should not depend on a long term partnership.
If I own a company that usually consults on these types of challenges, should I apply for just one challenge or for every challenge if I think I have a solution?
We would welcome the same proposer applying to multiple challenges. Please note, however, that if selected to provide a solution for multiple challenges, time constraints may be a challenge.
Will the city permit applications from one company on multiple challenges?
What is the estimated length of the pilot?
How long does the City expect the implementation to be?
What are the success criteria for the pilot?
Reduce call center load. Increase customer satisfaction
How many total customers are expected to use the pilot?
What are the City systems in scope for integration with the pilot solution? What is the City’s current - Customer Care & Billing system?
Oracle CC&B v2.7
Will the City provide the APIs for the integration of its systems to the pilot solution?
Is chatbot part of the pilot? If yes, what are the chatbot scenarios the City would like to include as part of the pilot?
Unknown at this point – To be determined.
Regarding digital correspondence management, what correspondence types would the City like to include as part of the pilot?
Is the City looking for a web and mobile application as part of the pilot? Or for the future state?
Yes, as part of the pilot
Is there any identity management/verification required as part of the customer enrollment?
Depends on the nature of the call.
In scenarios where customers smell gas, is the City looking to deploy/trigger emergency processes? - Yes, all gas odor calls are investigated.
Does the City have any detailed requirements/wireframes that you can share with the bidders?
No, this is to be determined.
Is the City looking for a subscription or perpetual license + implementation model?
Unknown at this point To be determined.
Is the City looking to host the solution or for the bidders to host the solution?
Unknown at this point – To be determined.
Does the City have AMI on the gas meters?
What do you expect your role in the project to be?
Project management/Project oversight
Is there an estimated project start date? Go-live?
1st Quarter Calendar Year 2022
Does the City have any preference/requirement of resource location (e.g. remote, on-site, offshore)? Remote
How many metered customers does the City have?
155,00 Gas meters / 90,000 Water meters
Can the City share with the bidders the allocated budget for the pilot and the project itself?
What languages are necessary to be supported?
English, Spanish, Khmer, Tagalog
What systems does Long Beach currently have in place
1. Contact Center - Customer Care & Billing system? Oracle CC&B v2.7
2. Customer Care - Customer Care & Billing system? Oracle CC&B v2.7
3. Service/Billing - Customer Care & Billing system? Oracle CC&B v2.7
Which systems will the new platform need to integrate with?
Customer Care & Billing system? Oracle CC&B v2.7 & Oracle Mobile Workforce Management v2.3
Does the system requirements define how to handle escalations/hand-offs from the self-service platform to an agent?
No, not at this time.
What information do customers provide in order to receive information (account number, etc.)?
Name, Account Number, Service Address, Billing Address
How many calls/inquiries are they handling each month?
What is the primary way for customers to reach out to them today?
Via telephone call or to a lesser extent, email
Do they want the ability to communicate with customers via text messages or social media accounts? – Yes.
Would chat information need to be logged in a customer record/account/CRM?
Is the chatbot a standalone system to provide generic information OR is it a personalized communications channel to assist with specific individual inquiries re MY bill?
Ideally the range of response would specific enough to handle the majority of inquiries.
Do you want the ability for agents to seamlessly jump into chatbot sessions to communicate with customers?
Digitization, Natural Language Processing, and Resident Engagment
Budget Not Determined Yet
April 9 through May 7, 2021 at 6:00 PM (GMT-08:00) Pacific Time (US & Canada)
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