UMS Case Study: Dee Valley Water

Together with UMS, Dee Valley Water moves to a modern way of communicating with their customers

BACKGROUND Dee Valley Water PLC supplies water to approximately 258,000 customers in Chester, North East Wales and North West England extending over 831 km 2 . With such a large customer base, effec- tive communication is therefore essential to tackle problems such as burst pipes, boil water notices, maintenance work, planned and unplanned outages. The importance of customer engagement is always crucial to a successful company; this establishes a sturdy reputation with reliability at its core. The implications of service disruptions are never taken positively however with regular notice and service updates, customers are at the very least informed and aware of the situation. Without this bridge of commu- nication, call centres will be working at over capacity with reports and complaints leading to longer phone queues and even more aggravated residents. Previously to alert residents of planned and unplanned outages, traditional forms of communication such as delivering leaf- lets, door to door communication, televi- sion and newspaper outlets were used. This along with expenses, costs a signifi- cant amount of manpower. Like other public service industries, the water industry is regulated by OFWAT; a governmental body that aims to protect consumers by ensuring that a standard of service and quality is delivered. It has been well known that OFWAT has issued penalties worth millions of Pounds in the past. Dee Valley Water wishes to improve their rating by providing the best possible customer service.

With our address based alerting system, Dee Valley Water had found a way to transition from traditional forms of communicating service outages. This modern system has immediately seen a benefit in customer satisfaction and resulted in less unwanted calls taken by call centres. Together with UMS, Dee Valley Water moves to a modern way of communicating with their customers

Address Based Alert System Considering our background and under- standing our previous successes, Dee Valley Water had decided to trial out our messaging service; what were unique to UMS were the simplicity of the system and the absolute coverage of our chan- nels to accommodate for all audiences. The simple 5 step sending process takes a minute to complete and allows users to select affected areas on a digi- tal map provided by Google to send rel- evant recipients SMS, voice messages

and emails. The system is able to save alert templates and map areas to enable the fastest response to react to multiple scenarios. It is also possible to resend alerts quickly for situational updates or to those who had not read or received the message. As anticipated the trial was a success, with great positive feedback from all stakeholders including appreciation from the public for keeping them in- formed; the system was happily pro- cured.

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Impact of the solution To this day, the usage of the system has become a natural part of Dee Valley Water’s daily routine contributing to the bettering of OFWAT regulated SIM (Service Incentive Mechanism) scores. Providing notifications and updates promptly for all service disruptions on a regular basis, significantly reducing the amount of phone enquiries; this is a perfect example of customer service at its best. The majority of people carry a mobile device with them to check their emails and messages. With our channel scope, the chances of successfully notifying residents is highly likely. Once mes- sages are sent, our system can moni- tor the statistics in a given area whereby further strategic decisions can be made e.g. if there is continuous large scale interruption to drinking water, deploy and provide details of the nearest water tankers available to residents. With the case of boil water notices increasing around the UK, customers

How did it solve the problem/ challenge for the customer? With our address based alerting sys- tem, Dee Valley Water has found a way to move away from traditional forms of communicating service outages. This modern system, has immediately seen a benefit in customer satisfaction and resulted in less unwanted calls taken by call centres. Response time to unplanned outages have improved through the immediate dissemination of alerts and the ability to create alert scenarios to match any situation. Naturally, this has also im- proved the aforementioned SIM scores.

Message example:

are feeling more assured that the prompt alerting provided by Dee Valley Water would limit the amount of people put in poor health; essentially reducing the risk of fatalities and protecting the reputation of the firm. With the introduction of their new web- site, Dee Valley Water plans to work fur- ther with UMS to introduce new features within the system improving interactivity, introducing an integrated survey tool and live map updates. This marks an exciting time for UMS with new prospects for this growing partnership. An incident in your area may cause discoloured water. Run the cold tap until the water clears. Visit our website for more details.

Unified Messaging Systems AS • www.umsalert.com Innspurten 15, 0663 OSLO • Pb. 6301, Etterstad, 0604 OSLO, Norway

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