The key to successful prepayment metering

What is the secret of successful prepayment metering services? While some projects are successful, why do others fail? Can this be explained just by technical differences in the products? Not really!

Elektromed Ltd. Co. has manufactured more than 1 million multi-utility prepayment gas, electric and water meters, and we have acquired a great deal of experience in the turnkey operation of prepayment metering services since 1994. We believe that 100% end-user satisfaction can be achieved by providing excellent after-sales service.

Prepayment metering is not just a matter of the product itself, with its operational capabilities – it is something more complex related to human psychology. Once the prepayment system is implemented, utilities expect users to change their decades-long habits immediately in order to adapt to the new system.

This type of revolutionary change will of course be met with resistance at the beginning, mainly because of lack of communication and information about the new system.

Everyone needs electricity, water and gas, and if the consumption of these vital goods is prevented by a prepayment meter, even if this is as a result of a mistake by the end user, the end user will complain that “this meter is not working properly”. Of course the utility is able to detect the mistake, but if the complaints increase they may decide to stop the project, believing that it is not suitable for their customers because they are not ready for it.

The importance of an after-sales service organisation, which consists of call centres operating 24/7 and mobile technical service teams, cannot be overemphasised. The end users must be able to reach the call centres easily, using the phone numbers on the meters, and all the information they require must be given by specially trained agents. The agents should tell end users about the system, and try to solve their problems. If the problem can’t be solved over the phone, the mobile service team should visit the end user immediately.

Such an efficient after-sales service system has been set up by Elektromed in Ankara, Turkey, to serve 950,000 prepayment gas, water and electric meters. The organisation consists of 25 agents who reply to and record 150,000 calls annually, and 60 mobile service teams. The system works on the principle of 100% customer satisfaction, which has led to the success of the biggest prepayment metering project in the world in one city.

Such after-sales services benefit both utilities and consumers, and result in a win-win situation for all.