Utility companies: Transforming internal and external communications

South West Water screenshots

South West Water screenshots

CDS has a wealth of expertise at delivering communication services and acting as a digital partner for a growing portfolio of clients in the utility and national infrastructure sectors. These clients include South West Water, Pennon Group, Environment Agency, as well as emergency service providers, including the Metropolitan Police and Resilience Direct.

We are delighted to sponsor the Utility Week, Water Customer Conference in Birmingham on 18 January 2017. If you’re at the event please come over to our stand to say hello. Our team would be delighted to share insights and discuss the challenges you face.

We offer a broad range of on and offline services. These are designed to help you communicate and engage more effectively with your customers and staff and deliver solutions that help you design, implement and deliver your digital roadmap.

With lead tables and financial penalties now common there is no place to hide. Also with AMP6 in full swing, there is significant focus on:

  • delivering a better customer experience with a greater focus on SIM
  • adapting to increased competition from new retail providers which include pure digital-first retailers
  • driving efficiencies and cost savings to maintain margins.

For many, the aspiration is to use digital as the business enabler to drive future customer and stakeholder engagements to transform their business.

You may ask how do I achieve this? From a digital perspective, this means adopting a customer centric approach by gaining a greater understanding of your customers and improving the user experience. It also means:

  • developing multi-channel capability
  • improving content delivery, and
  • utilising customer data more effectively through integration with CRM systems to deliver a more personalised online customer experience.

It is proven that the companies which best understand the needs of their customers and are better able to align their services and customer contact channels will become the future winners in today’s marketplace.

Responding to market changes

As you will be aware the water sector is embarking on a new journey involving considerable change, most notably deregulation of the business market. Many commentators are recognizing that these changes are some of the most significant since privatisation over 25 years ago.

This creates implications and opportunities for companies and consumers alike. Having the right partner in place to help you succeed in a new competitive marketplace and improving customer satisfaction will be key.

Channel shift

Whilst utility providers have a strong digital presence, many still need to do more to optimise the user experience and remove friction points to create a more compelling multi-channel customer experience that promotes self-service. This has many business benefits including helping to reduce the number of inbound calls, increasing customer satisfaction, improving SIM score and avoiding financial penalties.

Optimised customer experience

You will recognise a common view that you need to channel shift, even more customers, which is likely to be one of your KPIs. To achieve this, it is important you understand the profile of your customers, how they interact with you and their preferences and needs – commonly known as the user experience.

Using this data and knowledge helps to inform solution design. Optimised user journeys, placing the customer at the heart, is key to achieving channel shift success that enables digital to become the preferred channel of choice.

To learn more about how CDS has helped transform South West Water’s digital approach to creating a seamless online customer experience, please view the case study.

Customer expectations are also increasing rapidly which is creating pressure to deliver a more personalised experience and compete with the digital-first retailers. Many organisations are currently investigating how to integrate their CMS and CRM technologies and the development of content strategies to help get even closer to their customers.



In today’s market, customers want to be able to interact with companies using their communication channel of choice. This may include mobile/tablet on the move or via desktop at work.

Understanding how your customers wish to interact with you and optimising the experience across all channels is a key component of ensuring future digital success.

CDS has recently worked with Pennon Group to design new brand guidelines that can work across all channels to ensure a consistent brand recognition.

Marketing distribution

As many organisations have an abundance of systems in place, the challenge that we often see is how to connect marketing technology systems to create the optimum marketing distribution platform that is able to support each and every customer touchpoint.

By optimising the flow of data we can help reduce the cost to serve and cost to acquire and get even closer to your customers.

Internal communications

With large and often disparate workforce including a significant number of mobile employees, the ability to communicate and engage through digital channels has never been more important. Having the capability through your intranet to collaborate, utilise social channels, facilitate two-way communication and share information and knowledge across teams will be important components of your digital workplace strategy.

CDS has a wealth of experience and knowledge of delivering large scale intranet solutions designed for organisations with a large workforce. Most recently, CDS has delivered a new intranet for the Metropolitan Police which is designed to improve efficiency, reduce costs and introduce new digital ways of communication.

Routes to Procurement

We provide a wide range of communication services that may be accessed via Achilles, a procurement channel used widely by the utility and property sectors.

Service categories include:

  • Software development tools
  • Specialist business software
  • Internet/intranet services
  • Software development services
  • Software support services
  • Graphic and media design services
  • Content management
  • Content Management Software
  • Website design services
  • Web strategy
  • Web content management
  • Website development services
  • Website maintenance services
  • Web server hosting
  • Data collection and handling services
  • Data preparation
  • Data collection
  • Business Intelligence Services

If you are an Achilles user please view our profile and learn how we have worked with a growing portfolio of clients in the utility and national infrastructure sectors.

Interested in this story and want to find out more? Contact Paul Meersman on 0113 399 4000 or email us via our contact form.

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