By Cassie McClure and Suzanne Michaels
Among the usual active bustle at the Saturday Farmer’s Market in downtown, there was a different booth: Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) was seeking face-to-face responses to a Customer Survey. The booth was manned by New Mexico State University s Chi Epsilon, an honors group of engineering students. The students not only handed out the English or Spanish surveys; they also helped on the fly with questions or surprises the public might have had.
The reason for the annual survey: “Each year we can set different benchmarks for our different Lines of Business and our survey helps us measure what customers know and where we might need to do more public outreach,” said Jorge A. Garcia, PhD, P.E., LCU director.
The 12-question survey asked questions such as: What color bag should you use to bag your yard waste? And, what type of compost does the City give away free - there are two different types. One results from the Green Grappler green waste pickup and the other comes from highly processed and dried sewage.
The survey also asked about residents’ confidence in the quality of drinking water, and if cleaned water from Jacob Hands Wastewater Treatment Facility is sent safely back into the environment.
Not only at the Farmers Market, but also at other locations like Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, NMSU engineering students also handed out surveys and LCU goodie bags and answered questions about why people should make the free 811 call before digging in their yard.
At SaveMart and Toucan Market, another group of students handed out more surveys and answered additional questions about what can and cannot go down the drain and toilet. The survey asked about things that people might think are flushable, and might even be marketed as such, but can cause many problems for homeowners, business owners, and the City’s Wastewater Treatment Facility.
Lastly, the survey asked if residents know about LCU's second customer service location off of U.S. Highway 70. “We do hope that those residents are making use of the center that has some adjusted hours,” Dr. Garcia said.
For anyone who missed the face-to-face surveys, look for it as an insert in the November Utilities bill. It can be mailed in or dropped off at one of the two Customer Central locations. The survey is also available online at: http://www.las-cruces.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=1371.
Residents and customers can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 575/528-3500 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.
The Buchanan’s, Ryan, Kaitlyn, and 4-month-old Blake, spare some time to answer the 12-question Las Cruces Utilities survey. Even though Blake slept through it in the arm of his mom, Ryan and Kaitlyn were able to help LCU understand what customers do and do not know about utility services.
Note: This story was recently published in the Las Cruces Sun-News.