Call the Manteca Finance Department at certain times of the month to pay your municipal utility bill or obtain information about it and your wait to talk to a customer service representative could take 10 minutes or more.
That could change in the coming months.
The City of Manteca is getting ready to implement a $108,500 interactive voice response system.
It will allow callers who choose to do so to bypass a customer service representative and “speak” directly to a computer to access their account and/or make a payment.
The city finance department has four customer service representatives to assist garbage, sewer, and water customers. During heavy traffic times, three additional finance staff members are taken from other duties to provide back-up assistance.
But even with seven customer representatives helping the public at peak times there often are more than 20 customers in the phone queue waiting for assistance.
With the new system customers who opt not to wait can respond to computer generated voice prompts to retrieve needed information or make a payment 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Finance Director Suzanne Mallory noted that even with the new system, the city will continue to provide the same level of “human” contacts.
The city has over 23,000 utility accounts. A growing number of people are opting to pay over the phone instead of by mail or in person.
Funding for the system is coming from the water enterprise account funded by ratepayers.