30 November 2021

Why I work in water: Kel Dunning

Going for bike rides or to the gym, making funny videos on social media platform TikTok and taking care of hundreds of plants – this is how Kel Dunning spends her time when she’s not leading a frontline team renowned for its exceptional customer service.

After a whirlwind 18 months full of trials and tribulations, Hunter Water’s Team Leader Call Centre has helped the organisation rise to the challenge and produce its highest-ever customer satisfaction results.

“Our team is the first point of contact for customers across multiple channels, striving to provide an easy experience, making them feel good about their interaction with us and, lastly, resolving their issue at the first point,” Kel says.

Hunter Water was recently rewarded for its sustained excellence in customer service by ranking first in a nationally-recognised mystery shopping program ahead of more than 190 reputable organisations across many industries and sectors.

The water utility’s customer-focused approach saw it claim top spot in the latest quarterly SenseCX Benchmark rankings, with a total score of 83.4% from October 2020 to September 2021, while customer satisfaction results also reached an all-time high of 98%.

Kel, who joined Hunter Water in 2008, says the results are even more impressive considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which created a number of challenges surrounding wellbeing, remote working, recruitment, training, and the implementation of new systems.

“It is remarkable considering the challenges we have experienced for the better part of two years with COVID-19 and having to adapt to new ways of working,” she says.

“I am so very proud of the team and the Customer Experience group – each and every person has contributed and worked really hard to get where we are.
Kel Dunning, Team Leader Call Centre

“We have managed to support each other, share resources and multi-skill to ensure we successfully made it through with minimal impacts to the customer.

“It hasn’t been easy but we have all risen to the challenge and continue to do so every day.”

Apart from navigating through COVID-19, Kel has also been involved in the launch of eBilling – another step in Hunter Water’s approach to deliver services customers can access anywhere, anytime.

After registering on Hunter Water’s My Account system, customers have convenient, 24/7 access, with the option to view and download bills, pay online, update contact details, and elect a preference for receiving bills, letters, and reminder notices.

“Since opening My Account registrations, more than 10,000 customers are enjoying the convenience of paperless eBilling,” Kel says.

“We encourage other customers to sign up, which takes less than a minute to do.”

While the pandemic has brought about a number of changes in the workplace and life in general, Kel’s passion for the job and focus on wellbeing have remained unwavering.

She was recently recognised at a virtual Hunter Water event, receiving the ‘Wellbeing Award’ as part of the organisation’s 2021 Values Awards.

The winners were selected by the Executive Management Team from more than 85 staff nominations. Categories also included ‘Leading’, ‘Learning’, ‘Inclusion’, and ‘Trust’.

Kel says being acknowledged with the ‘Wellbeing Award’ is a proud moment in her career.

“When I joined Hunter Water 13 years ago, I hoped to use the role as an opportunity to get a foot in the marketing team,” she says.

“Fast forward to today, and I’m still with the customer service team and it is my passion.

“I have totally redefined my purpose and goals along the way – I absolutely love what I do.”