Yarra Valley Water is harnessing the power of technology to transform the customer experience and create seamless service.

Glenn Wilson, General Manager, Services Futures, said the organisation was on an ongoing journey of transformation as part of its commitment to customer care.

“Our award-winning Customer Experience Team has identified more than 100 unique task-based journeys to better understand what customers experience when they interact with us,” Mr Wilson said.

“These journeys track how customers interact with us, such as when they need to pay a bill, report a fault, or ask for help to understand their bill.

Mapping these journeys has identified pain points for both customers and staff, revealing service gaps as well as improvement and innovation opportunities.

“Tracing customer experiences informs our work to update systems, processes, staff training and communications materials to ensure we meet expectations and that our systems are accessible and inclusive.”

The development of the new My Account portal is a key transformation project that kicked off in mid-2021 to move the organisation to a Salesforce platform.

Mr Wilson said that while an end-of-life technology replacement was the main driver of this piece of work, it presented a perfect opportunity to redesign and modernise the customer experience.

The project is being delivered by a cross-functional squad and uses the experience and skills of a number of peopleacross the organisation.

The organisation’s Customer Experience Team was awarded a Good Design Award this year for its contribution to the project, which is expected to roll out to customers in late 2022.

The “Evolving customer digital self-service” project won the Design Research category in recognition of outstanding design and innovation.

Judges said the project was well-researched and would improve self-service uptake, increase the rate of task completion among users and drive efficiencies by reducing calls to the contact centre. Mr Wilson said the new, user-friendly digital portal would improve usability and accessibility for customers.

“Adopting actionable parts of the CX research and what we understand about our customers will provide opportunistic customer experience improvements to self-service,” Mr Wilson said.

“And in the long term, this move to Salesforce technology will enable us to explore further improvement opportunities that will benefit us as a business and improve the service we can provide to our customers.

“It will allow them to better manage their account online and find meaningful information that meets their needs, such as monitoring their water usage and proactive alerts which are likely to come with the introduction of digital meters at some point in the future.”

Mr Wilson said the new My Account portal supported key principles in the organisation’s 2030 Strategy, which includes a commitment to transform around customers, providing care, seamless service and affordability.

Another key project in the organisation’s transformation is the creation of a new online portal to assist customers needing information when they’re looking to develop land or make alterations to an existing property.

“We’ve conducted extensive customer research to understand how customers experience the complete end- to-end land development journey and where we fit into that process,” Mr Wilson said.

“We identified three key groups – commercial housing developers, homeowners with limited experience looking to develop and plumbers – and they all need something slightly different from their dealings with us.

“We know that it’s been difficult for some to get knowledge and information about the land development process and what they need from us, with some finding it hard to navigate through the end-to-end process.

Woman hand’s filling the glass of water.

“We’re now undergoing a full service redesign with the aim of ensuring early engagement with customers and best practice processes to create a seamless experience.”

Currently the team are building the first component, which is due to be completed by mid-2022. “This project is a multi-year piece of work and we’re currently working through the release plan,” Mr Wilson said.

“This is to ensure we continue providing the best service to our customers during the switch over period from our current easyACCESS system to our new Land Development Portal.”

Mr Wilson said that once the work was complete, customers would have the benefits of early intervention and advice, as well as a better understanding of the overall land development process and what’s required.

“It will mean a faster, clearer process for making an application, including access to the ‘where, what and how’ to complete every step of the process. It will also make it much easier for our staff to support customers in the overall process.” Mr Wilson said the organisation’s transformation journey would continually evolve to meet customers’ ever-changing needs.

“Our 2030 Strategy acknowledges that good customer service is about putting customers first and creating great experiences, connecting with them and giving them what they need – and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”

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