Customer Engagement

MAKING AND KEEPING CUSTOMER PROMISES:  
SYDNEY WATER’S APPROACH TO PUTTING CUSTOMERS AT THE HEART OF EVERYTHING WE DO
S Armstrong, J Isben, R Siros
Publication Date (Web): 23 January 2018
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21139/wej.2018.006


Sydney Water launched its Corporate Strategy in 2014 with the vision to be “the Lifestream of Sydney for generations to come”. At its core, the Strategy focuses on transforming Sydney Water from an asset and compliance driven utility into a customer-centric service based organisation. This transformation will be enabled by a new customer-centric operating model, focused on building the business capabilities required for Sydney Water to achieve its vision. The organisation has been restructured to support the new operating model and position each group to lead, enable or deliver exceptional customer outcomes.

As part of the restructure, the Customer Direction & Experience (CDE) team was established to accelerate the development of five critical customer-centric business capabilities:
  • Customer intelligence
  • Customer direction setting
  • Customer experience design
  • Customer experience measurement
  • Business collaboration.

The CDE team’s initial focus was to develop a Customer Experience Strategy. The purpose of the strategy was to enable Sydney Water to create consistently great experiences for our customers. The foundation of the strategy is our ‘customer promises’, which are based on customer insight and describe what our customers need, want and value from Sydney Water. The customer promises align to customer value across three themes:

  • Every day’ that customers engage with Sydney Water products and services
  • Every time’ that customers interact with Sydney Water
  • Everyone’ in the community who benefits from Sydney Water being involved in long-term city planning and maintaining a future focus.

A roadmap has been developed to implement the Customer Experience Strategy and uplift the five business capabilities. It includes six streams of work:
  1. Introducing human-centred design to transform the way we understand our customers, and then design and implement initiatives to improve customer experience
  2. Developing a Customer Experience Measurement Framework that combines real time ‘voice of the customer’ (VoC) feedback with quantitative data and longer term customer sentiment to drive real improvements in customer experience 
  3. Establishing an effective way to educate and Collaborate with our Customers to inform our pricing submissions.
  4. Improving the understanding of our customers through sophisticated segmentation and research 
  5. Optimising customer channels to reduce cost to serve for low value interactions and improve service experiences for high value interactions
  6. Using all the above to drive a customer centric culture and uplift customer centric people capabilities.

Sydney Water group structure
Sydney Water group structure

To date, the CDE team has worked across the business to progress several roadmap initiatives. A human-centred design approach was adopted to improve services for customers who need Sydney Water approval to develop their property, and customers who are new home-owners. This approach is also applied to solving customer pain points through our new customer innovation platform, “CX Lab”.  

Through experimentation we are refining our customer experience measurement framework, focusing on the processes, data and technology that will drive customer experience improvements. Work is also progressing to segment customers based on an ‘outside-in’ view of their needs, wants and values and to engage with our customers to inform our price submission and operating licence review.
 

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