In a world of always-connected consumers, effective customer engagement is a key success factor across a broad range of competitive sectors such as retail, financial services, and telecommunications. Using highly integrated omni-channel strategies, they have improved service, reduced costs, and built brand equity. Today’s consumers have come to expect choice, convenience, service quality, channel innovation and personalization from all of their service providers — including their water utility company.
As they struggle to manage scarce resources in a responsible and sustainable manner, water utilities around the globe are under pressure to implement Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technologies to reduce water loss, energy costs and operational expenses. In the figure on the left from the Black & Veatch report 2014 Strategic Directions: U.S. Water Industry, it is interesting to note that a web-based customer portal and customer premise leak detection are two of the highest ranked features for AMI programs under consideration.
We believe this is a strong indication that water utility companies have come to understand and embrace the advantages of customer engagement. For example, water conservation is an important component of sustainable resource management and consumers are expected to play their part. But how can consumers save water if they do not know how much they use? Leak detection is another opportunity to conserve water. By being able to alert their customers in real-time through a number of channels to possible leaks in their homes, water utilities partner with their customers to minimize water loss from leaks. And the two-way communications afforded by web portals and smartphone apps mean that customers can proactively report adverse events such as leaks, blockages, pollution, etc.
Another aspect of customer engagement is discussed in IBM’s 2011 report “Water works: Connecting with your customers” directed at the UK water industry. They emphasize the importance of building brand equity as utilities face deregulation and heightened competition. As summarized in the infographic above, they encourage utilities to build brand value through customer-centric, data-informed, multi-channel engagement campaigns.
At Arad, we are proud to be at the forefront of providing water utilities with the sophisticated tools necessary to meaningfully engage their customers in a win-win partnership to conserve precious water resources. Read more about Arad’s AMR/AMI solutions.