In our previous post we began to take a look at how deregulation will drive the need for water authorities to add value to their service. In essence, how do you make the customer relationship about more than just a litre of water?
In this piece we’re going to look at one route where your business can add this value - that of data. Data is often the exclusive domain of the invoice, but now it is an area where we are able to drive real value if approached with a creative eye. By creatively we mean through data visualisation and it’s impact on facilitating commercial decision-making.
For some time now, the energy market has demonstrated that B2B customers greatly value proactive consulting and interactions, particularly around how suppliers can save them money on their bills. There are also clear environmental and community benefits to the reductions in energy use. This certainly holds true in the equally sensitive world of water consumption.
So, let’s posit a narrative here.
Bob is the Operations Director of a multi-site manufacturer which uses considerable quantities of water in the process - let’s say he makes corrugated board for example. Part of Bob’s KPI’s will revolve around not just production efficiencies and output but also maintaining allocated cost base and/or driving savings. A major component of corrugated board manufacturing is super heated steam. Imagine the Value Add of an authority who could bring to Bob's desk - monthly, weekly or even daily - a usage report which compares his meter readings across all of his commercial sites.
Imagine still if Bob could open an app or log on to an extranet page that visualises the real-time water usage across all his sites. What if Bob can then set notifications to alert him to optimal performances, meaning he can proactively reward and incentivise further those ops managers, whilst flagging over-usage in other sites, so that he can intervene as quickly as possible to prevent costly overruns. Any Water Authority that can provide that level of proactive support will not only win Bob's business but will create a strong internal advocate for continuing their service, even if their per unit price is potentially higher.
This value add to Bob helps to offset price commoditisation whilst building brand loyalty. As the Operations Director, Bob's loyalty is driven by the demonstration of a real understanding of his unique daily work challenges and a provider who strives to help him solve these rather than simply focusing on a low price proposition gains that loyalty in spades.
Much of the interaction at this daily level is driven by digital interactions - be it a desktop based website, a responsive site or indeed an app. It’s all about getting the right audience at the right time with the right information.
This M.I. (Market Insight) then translates into a single bill, reduces administrative costs, clearly itemises and justifies the expense and also builds loyalty across departments, not just in the company's operational team.
From an authority perspective though it’s a relatively cost-effective low risk approach - these dashboards can be built once and used on an ongoing basis, driving sustainable (and valued) ROI.
The PR around this is also hugely powerful as this proactive approach offers not just financial savings but measurable environmental impact to boot.
Here at After Digital we have extensive experience of developing and deploying these M.I. Dashboards across similar markets (namely the energy sector with clients such as EDF Energy Group). Indeed, increasingly the digital impact is being seen as a transformation in the way business, organisations and the public sector transact. Digitally centric service provision is on the rise and After Digital are increasingly at the heart of this digital road-mapping for our clients.
If you are interested in finding more about how we can help you engage online in the digital arena feel free to get in touch for an informal chat.