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The Invisible Water Corporation


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What is the perfect water corporation? How do you measure the level of customer service?

Published in: Business, Technology
  • @Mckeever1000 Very interesting and obviously efffective in creating custoemr focus. I definitly should include OFWAT in my research. I am developing my own model, based on scienfic considerations. My main aim is to compare organisational culture and service quality.

    Love the idea of the trucks - very customer focused indeed.
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  • Hi Peter, Please have a look at the following link: This sounds like the solution you are looking for on the other side of the world from me.

    Here in the Uk our regulator Ofwat has implemented what is known as 'Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM). For three years now (the first year being a trial) all 21 water companies within the UK are pitted against each other in a league table and are measured against customer service. SIM has two measures:
    1. Quantatitive: this is a point system which penalises water companies for unwanted calls into the business. An unwanted contacts = 1 point, stage one complaints = 10 points, stage two complaints = 100 points and a Consumer council for water complaint = 1000 points. and in this case points do certainly not equal prizes.
    2. Qualatitive: this measure is based on a survey to customers who have made contact with a water company, they are then phoned up by the regulator and asked numerous questions about there service they recieved from there water provider. Such questions include: 'was your query dealt with promptly' 'did you recieve regular updates to your problem' 'did the engineer resolve the issue' 'how satisfied are you with the service'.

    These two measures then produce a quarterly league table highlighting the best and worse companies over the year. There are massive rewards for the top providers and big penalaties for the worst perfomers and each quarter fills the regional managers with dredd depending on their position.

    Now the good thing about all this is that us water companies are massively improving our game on customer service, we now focus more on non disruptive techniques to repair our mains such as line stopping, hydrant wizards, squeeze offs and overlands which means some customers do not have a clue that we have just repaired a burst main around the corner from them. Another technique which is becoming increasingly popular is the use of our alternate supply vehciles!!! these are 30000 litre trucks equipped with pumps and chlorinated pipework to enable us to pump direct into the mains of affected customers, these trucks now get deployed before we even arrange our repair team.

    We clearly still have problems when certain mains burst but our communications to customers absorb some of that ill feeling as they can clearly see we try to do our best to minimise disruption. Providing web, twitter and text updates is now just the norm.The customer is now at the forefront of everything we plan for.
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  • You can not increase willingness to pay by pointing out the cost of building infrastructure.

    Willingness to pay is, among other things, related to the perceived value of the service. The value of the service is determiend by the perceived benefits and costs to the consumer. The cost to the service provider does not come into play in this equation.

    Many water comapnies assume that customers empathise with the effort and cost required to provide water - well, they don't.

    Willingness to pay has to be increased by improving the value proposition which can only be done by providing great customer service.
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  • Challenging thoughts and concepts. But, if it is invisible, won´t customers forget about how difficult and costly it is to provide the service? How would they react if you were to ask for a tariff increase? How would you convince politicians to devote more funds if it is not a priority issue for their constituencies?
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The Invisible Water Corporation

  1. 1. The Invisible Water CorporationPeter PrevosPhD Candidate, School of BusinessManager Land Development, Coliban Water
  2. 2. Value Proposition  VicWater (2011) Strategic Vision for Water Management  “The value proposition... needs to be defined and communicated to customers” Water corporations often communicate the value proposition through technological achievements.14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 2
  3. 3. Benchmarking of Water Services  ESC proposed performance indicators  Random selection of targets  What is perfection?  Research into water service quality  Invisible Water Corporation  SERVAQUA14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 3
  4. 4. Service Quality  Value Perceived benefits minus perceived cost  Quality Meeting specifications  Satisfaction Comparison with expectations Complaining about high water bill. Source: neptunetg.com14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 4
  5. 5. Consumer Benefits  Needs Physiological Sociological Psychological  Wants Raw water Gardening is an activity that covers all types of needs – from physiological Potable water (movement, food) to providing a sense of self actualisation. Recycled water14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 5
  6. 6. Consumer Cost  Monetary  Psychological  Sociological  Time Women in Ethiopia carry water from a lake back to their homes. The time spent hauling water can be significant in areas where sources of domestic water supply are limited. Source: waterencyclopedia.com14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 6
  7. 7. Marginal Utility  Perceived value is determined by marginal utility Least important value to a consumer  Water Life sustaining Waste transportation The marginal utility for water is low because its lowest utility is flushing it down the toilet.14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 7
  8. 8. Consumer Involvement  Water and sanitation are considered low involvement services Increases as perceived level of certainty of supply decreases No empirical validation of this During the drought, many customers claim spent large amounts of time and money to retain the ability to use water.14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 8
  9. 9. Water & Sanitation Services  Core services  Facilitating services  Needed for service delivery (grey)  Enhancing services  Extra value (white)  Focus on core services Lovelock’s Rose of Service applied to water corporations.14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 9
  10. 10. Customer Satisfaction  Overall Satisfaction  Overall valuation of the service portfolio  Moment of Truth  Interaction with service provider  Expectations of outcome Every time a customer opens a tap, flushes a toilet or contacts the water  Satisfaction, neutral corporation constitutes a moment of truth. or dissatisfaction14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 10
  11. 11. Overall Satisfaction  The sum of transaction specific satisfaction  Other influences Public image Trust in corporation The drought and subsequent restrictions have a large impact on overall customer  Existing models satisfaction. SERVQUAL SERVPERF14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 11
  12. 12. Transaction Specific Satisfaction  Core Services Network reliability Water quality  Facilitating services Minimise phone calls Easy to understand Burst in Kangaroo Flat. Water supply bills disruptions cost customers additional time. Self serving website14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 12
  13. 13. The Invisible Water Corporation  Minimise consumer time investment  Service quality ideal No water disruptions No water restrictions No boiled water notice A boiled water notice is a service failure as it requires consumer more time to use water. No phone calls14 September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 13
  14. 14. Further Research  SERVAQUA Model for water and sanitation service quality  Time utility  Consumer perspective  Pilot study  Validate model  September 2012 The Invisible Water Corporation 14
  15. 15. Questions?