Customer Experience

Customer Experience

Keeping our customer at the heart

During 2016-17, we have continued to focus on improving the customer services we know are valued. We established a customer experience team, in order to better understand customer insights and help our team convert these into improved outcomes for customers.

We measure our customers’ satisfaction with their service experience on an ongoing basis. Our overall 2016-17 customer satisfaction was 80 per cent, which was slightly below our target of  82.5 per cent.

Our focus for 2016-17 has been on building our capability to keep customers informed, via their preferred method, about what is happening with their water and sewerage services and resolving customer issues when they arise as quickly as possible.

Providing digital solutions

We understand that our customers value multiple channels of communication, with many preferring to interact with us via digital methods. Our digital program has given our customers more choice in the way they can interact with us.

A number of digital transformation projects were implemented including:

  • automated payment extension service
  • an updated, user friendly website, including improved fault informationa
  • a new online fault lodgement form
  • an interactive map showing when and where water mains are being replaced, as well as details on pipes within the existing network.

All these digital solutions were developed in consultation with customers throughout the design, build and trial phases which was critical to the success of the program.

Ongoing digital programs for 2017-18 include:

  • mySAWater
  • implementation of new payment options
  • improved outage notifications and fault information for customers via SMS, email and online.

Enabling mobile and responsive field teams

The development and adaptation of technology during 2016-17 has improved the way field teams work. During the year, field mobility tools were implemented, together with enhanced network access, wi-fi hot spots at depots/workshops, and a new app linked to our work planning system. The Work Order app enables field teams to receive and perform work in the field, as well as the ability to capture data about our assets and customer related information.

The Work Order app was designed taking into account customer feedback and insights as part of a program of work, ensuring we are continuously developing innovative solutions to meet our customers’ expectations  both now and into the future

Deploying the Work Order app to a workforce located across the state proved a challenge, with 450 people across 19 South Australian locations, as far north-west as Streaky Bay and as far south-east as Mount Gambier. Extensive trialling of all technology and hands-on training for 500 staff, together with onsite technical support proved successful with continued customer delivery service.  

By moving away from a paper based work system, our people have the ability to be more mobile, more responsive and more effective in providing information to our customers about service interruptions and restorations. Further key benefits have been the reduction in the amount of resources needed to support field data entry, and the amount of data rework when in the field.

Our priority for 2017-18 is deploying the Work Order app to additional teams including alliance partner Allwater in order to standardise work systems across metro and non-metropolitan areas.

Working together with Allwater

We have entered into the seventh year of the Adelaide Services Alliance with Allwater.

The Alliance delivers water and used water services to more than 1.2 million people across the metropolitan area. It provides front line services to operate and maintain metropolitan Adelaide’s water supply including 9 000 kilometres of water mains and six water treatment plants (WTPs). In addition, Allwater’s scope of works covers operations and maintenance of 7 200 kilometres of sewer mains, six wastewater treatment plants and various recycled water  schemes.

Major achievements of the Alliance across metropolitan Adelaide during 2016-17:

  • improved nitrogen removal for water going to the Gulf St Vincent was achieved at all metropolitan wastewater treatment plants (WWTP) with more than 4 600 tonnes of nitrogen removed through the Bolivar treatment plant
  • the Glenelg WWTP achieved the lowest total nitrogen levels to the Gulf to date
  • energy production was increased at the WWTPs with an additional 660 MWh  produced at the Bolivar WWTP and 200 MWh Glenelg WWTP, compared with 2015-16
  • new technology and field apps have empowered field crews, including the new Shut-Off app, a smart phone tool to better manage customer outages and protect critical customers
  • supported the successful delivery of significant capital works, including Glenelg  WWTP inlet works, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) projects,Northern WTP projects, Bolivar primary tanks and major network projects (Darlington Upgrade, Torrens to Torrens, O-Bahn City Access)
  • a new contract for waste management delivering savings of  approximately 10 per cent, as well as diverting a significant volume of waste from landfill, reducing energy and transport costs.

Delivering customer satisfaction

Our customer care centre continues to meet set Service Level Standards and maintain customer satisfaction, with results remaining consistent across all four quarters.

As part of our continual improvement, a new complex enquiries team was created with agents from across the customer care centre to deal with all customer correspondence. Despite the fact we began the first half of 2016-17 below our Service Level Standards, and established a new team, we managed to meet our annual target of answering 95 per cent of written correspondence within 10 working days.  

Further developments in reducing the number of calls to our customer care centre have been implemented together with the digital team, by offering self-help options for simple and low-level enquiries.

Another improvement in customer experience was to bring 100 per cent of customer calls in-house.

Supporting our customers

Our community support team has continued to evolve throughout 2016-17 to provide an improved support response for our customers and the wider community who experience an extended service interruptions, or property/personal damage as a result of a fault such as a main break.

By working closely with Allwater, communications and claims management teams we are keeping processes simple and our customers as the focus. One initiative implemented is customer care packs; information given to impacted customers detailing the support SA Water provides further to incidents. One-on-one case management is also provided to resolve issues including property cleaning, temporary accommodation and assistance with the insurance claims process.

During 2016-17 our community support team responded to more than 1 000 incidents with an average attendance of 97 per cent against our target rate of 95 per cent. The team provided a tailored support response to 278 customers who had experienced property or personal damage with 227 customers having their claim paid and issues fully  resolved.

During 2017-18 we will continue developing and improving our processes and systems to ensure they are efficient, ntegrated and continue to focus on customer outcomes.

Supporting bill payment

Our customer assist program is part of our early intervention strategy to engage with and help customers at risk of not being able to meet their financial responsibility. In 2016-17, more than 5 000 residential customers participated, with
2 065 customers successfully completing the program. Of the participating customers, 243 received free water audits or emergency plumbing assistance.

The program matches customer fortnightly payments towards their water bill, with a quarterly credit towards their bill as incentive to pay. In 2016-17, more than 1 920 quarterly credits were applied, valued at $120 000, with an average customer quarterly credit of $60.

Improving water services for Adelaide

With customers central to our business, the use of smart technology will help us to better understand how the network is operating at any given moment and where the stress points are.  

From 30 June 2017, the industry-leading smart network in Adelaide CBD became operational, achieving a major milestone in our pilot program that has been a focus throughout 2016-17.  

The trial has been installed in the Adelaide CBD due to a number of factors including the higher potential impact and disruption to customers from water main breaks and leaks. This is based on the number of customers including water-dependent businesses, and consistently busy traffic areas.  

While this type of technology has been tested and proven by water utilities around the world, we are the first Australian water utility to deploy it on this scale and use the information in real time to manage our water network.

As the smart network has been operational since 30 June 2017, only early performance metrics are available. We are at the beginning of the journey to realise the full benefits of the technology. While the smart network is already  providing useful information on the performance of the network, water main breaks and leaks will still occur from time to time.

Our focus going forward is learning how to best use the smart network data and understand what is happening in the CBD water network, in real-time as well as using that information to enhance and further develop the system. The full benefits of this CBD pilot project are expected to be realised in early 2018. Once tested and proven, we will look to adopt this innovative and emerging technology across other parts of our network. This is likely to start in the wider metropolitan area and then to major regional hubs, before covering our water network statewide. Planning for this wider roll out will continue through 2017.

Our focus going forward is learning how to best use the smart network data and understand what is happening in the CBD water network, in real-time as well as using that information to enhance and further develop the system. The full benefits of this CBD pilot project are expected to be realised in early 2018. Once tested and proven, we will look to adopt this innovative and emerging technology across other parts of our network. This is likely to start in the wider metropolitan area and then to major regional hubs, before covering our water network statewide. Planning for this wider roll out will continue through 2017.

Delivering drinking water to remote communities

Throughout 2016-17 we continue to deliver a safe and sustainable drinking water supply to our customers in some of the harshest and most challenging environments in Australia.

A major challenge for the year was managing localised flooding of bore  water infrastructure at Oak Valley after a period of intense rainfall. The entire bore field was underwater, resulting in some bores being under flood waters to a depth of 1.8 metres.

Further issues were identified including the bore’s electronics either not working or not serviceable, coupled with longserving pumps that were not operable or removable. To ensure supply, replacement bore holes were sunk.

Working closely with Department of Environment Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR), SCADA equipment was back online and operational for monitoring back in Adelaide.

Continued supply during works was available from a reticulated rainwater system as an interim measure to supply our customers. The outcome resulted in maintaining a quality of life and ensuring water restrictions were not required. Continual two way communications with the local community was maintained throughout.

Engaging with our customers

We engage with the community through education programs, site tours, expos, presentations, as well as market and social research.

Through these activities we aim to increase our reach into the community to share and test ideas, hear feedback and raise awareness about our operations to supply water and used water services to South Australian households and businesses.

Feedback gained through community and customer engagement has helped shape our corporate strategy and ensures there is a direct link between our strategic direction and our customer value. By sharing our customers’ stories to teams within SA Water, we can consider customer needs and expectations in decision making, planning and operations.

We have continued to run a number of community events and student learning programs throughout 2016-17 including:

  • our Brainwave program, with 9 723 students participating
  • tours of the Adelaide Desalination Plant and Kauwi Interpretive Centre by 2 253 people
  • tours of water and used water treatment plants as well as presentations about water services reaching 1 060 people
  • Quench Benches at a range of public events across South Australia providing water to more than one million people
  • 15 sponsorship partner organisations, events and programs
  • more than 200 000 downloads of our online apps such as Let the Poo Thru.