NorthStar Utilities Solutions (NorthStar), a division of Harris Computer Systems, and Util-Assist Inc. are pleased to announce a partnership that will offer utilities managed billing services powered by the NorthStar Customer Information System (CIS). For over fifteen years, Util-Assist has delivered billing services to the utility market using the NorthStar CIS; under this new agreement, Util-Assist will become a NorthStar business partner for clients seeking a business process outsourcing (BPO) solution, specifically in the areas of hosted billing and customer service support.
Backed by over 45 years of utility billing experience, the NorthStar CIS is a highly configurable customer information and billing system. NorthStar’s robust foundation can be configured with optional modules for customer engagement, workforce management, cloud, and security, offering a comprehensive enterprise solution that supports customer service excellence at every touchpoint.
The difficulty of keeping pace with technology changes, combined with post-pandemic staffing challenges, has many utilities seeking a model where the utility billing function can be enhanced by specialist services. Smaller utilities, in particular, can find it challenging to staff a large enough team to support the billing function through vacations, leaves, or retirements, often relying on a handful of people to staff this critical function. Util-Assist fills that gap with its CustomerAssist managed services for billing. Util-Assist provides a turnkey billing service to utilities, handling key aspects of solution hosting and operations to deliver a full-featured billing experience without the expense and difficulty of implementing a CIS, training company staff, and maintaining costly IT infrastructure.
In addition to billing services, Util-Assist will be a NorthStar business partner for customer service support. Utilities transitioning to a new CIS often find that the burden this places on their customer service teams can affect the customer experience, resulting in missed service level targets and unhappy customers. CustomerAssist allows utilities to shift excess calls to Util-Assist agents after reaching a predefined threshold, ensuring that customers speak to a utility representative promptly, even when internal staff are unable to respond. Util-Assist’s expert contact centre agents are trained in utility systems and business processes and can interact directly with back-office systems, such as the CIS or the outage management system. This enables Util-Assist’s service to merge seamlessly into the utility workflow.
“The team at Util-Assist is thrilled to partner with NorthStar,” said Mark Henderson, President of Util-Assist. “NorthStar is a leading customer information system for utilities, and Util-Assist has years of experience providing hosted NorthStar services to utility clients. This new agreement allows us to extend our BPO services to many utilities that might not otherwise be able to take full advantage of NorthStar’s sophisticated billing system.”
“NorthStar is pleased to partner with Util-Assist to help our customers provide exceptional customer service experiences,” stated Leah McCallum, Executive Vice President of NorthStar Utilities Solutions. “Util-Assist’s managed services will help our customers reduce risk, streamline operations, and save money, allowing them to focus on their core business and meet the challenges of the ever-changing utility landscape. Util-Assist is a great partner, and we look forward to continuing to work together as we serve electric, water, and gas utilities across North America.”
About NorthStar Utilities Solutions
For over 45 years, NorthStar Utilities Solutions has designed and developed utility billing software for small- to mid-sized municipal utilities. NorthStar’s best-of-breed software and a large ecosystem of tightly integrated, purpose-built applications provide utilities with flexible, industry-leading features and functions that maximize efficiency and deliver significant ROI.
For more details, visit: www.northstarutilities.com.
Util-Assist is a recognized innovator in technology and data-driven solutions for utilities. Util-Assist’s solutions merge technology with strategy to streamline processes, boost productivity, enable data-driven business decisions, and deliver enhanced customer experiences, transforming how utilities operate and deliver value to their customers. With professional services and managed services for electric water, and gas, Util-Assist is shaping the utility of the future. Util-Assist is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alectra Energy Services Inc., a branch of the Alectra Inc. family of companies.
For more details, visit www.util-assist.com.