unhappy customers

September 2018: You ask me to conserve and then raise my rates?

You’ve heard it before, and you’ll hear it again
Customers are confounded by the usage-restriction and rate-increase one-two punch. “Am I being penalized for conservation? Why should I conserve or even listen if you’re just going to raise my rates? It’s as much a communication challenge as it is a financial and conservation issue.

Preparing your staff for those calls
The Alliance for Water Efficiency previously tackled part of this “cost of water” question with the Water, What You Pay For video. This time they teamed up with the California Water Efficiency Partnership and Los Angeles DWP to provide a clear, data-supported answer to the conserve-to-raise-rates dilemma. The net? Customer bills are 26.7% lower today than they would have been without LADWP’s efficient rates and conservation efforts – check out the whitepaper here.

Let’s weigh the costs
How many customers do their research on the cost of water? How loudly will they howl? How much time will this cost customer service reps? Communicating with, educating, and making your customers feel supported now might be the best way to avoid pains later, especially if your service area is prone to frequent usage restrictions or rate hikes.

It’s all about delivery
The 2018 J.D. Power Water Utility Residential Satisfaction study came out earlier this year (here’s the preview) and ‘frequent communication’ continues to support higher levels of satisfaction. Use all your channels, but don’t forget about mobile – it’s the cheapest, most effective means of engaging your customers and defusing those tough conversations.

Dropcountr helps utilities build positive relationships with their customers by way of an intuitive and powerful customer portal. To request a product demonstration, reach out to ganesh@dropcountr.com

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A Texan, a Mexican, a Palestinian and an Israeli walk to a river (10 minute read)
Call it family therapy for water negotiators. This wonderful piece from the Texas Observer and Quartz explore the complexities of border water and how people can work together in a hotter, drier world.

Could water utilities evolve the way the electric sector did? (5 minute read)
Existing water systems are highly centralized and supported by old-fashioned financing models. But what if instead of simply replacing the physical infrastructure and financing mechanisms, the sector reinvented them?

The digital utility:customer relationship – what to do and when (5 minute read)
This small utility in New England has a trick or two up their sleeve on improving customer service and satisfaction. Hint: going digital helps and the best day to start was yesterday.  

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What’s happening at Dropcountr
We are thrilled to present at WSI in two weeks with Mary Ann Dickinson and the H2Duo about supporting your Spanish-speaking customers; come on out with questions and ideas! Here’s the sessions list

We’ll also be sharing data-driven communication strategies at the Colorado Waterwise and Cal/Nevada AWWA Fall Conference (session list) next month.

Stay tuned! More coming shortly
Kellock + Team Dropcountr

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