Central Highlands Water (CHW) is an urban water utility company responsible for providing water and sewerage in the Central Highlands region of Victoria, servicing a geographical region of 9,275 square kilometres to over 149,000 local residents across 13 unique water systems.
At the heart of the Central Highlands region stands the historic town of Ballarat, which over the previous few years has seen an unprecedented population boom as families move from Melbourne to the regional centre for its affordability and lifestyle opportunities. This influx of young, traditionally urban dwelling residents brings with it an ever-expanding expectation on CHW to deliver highly functional and simple digital experiences for a technology savvy customer base.
Partnered with an increased focus on digital experience and customer engagement driven by the Victorian Essential Services Commission (ESC), CHW saw a need to refine their digital roadmap which would inform how the organisation would transform an ageing, disparate and cumbersome digital ecosystem and therefore engaged Revium to help.
Revium was engaged by CHW to design and develop the digital ecosystem in-line with their initial roadmap suggestions and commitments to the ESC. However given CHW services cover a vast geographical region with a very diverse collection of townships and populations, Revium recommended undertaking a comprehensive program of Customer Experience research to better understand the role that CHW played in the community, the influences affecting consumer sentiment around water and CHW, and what customers expected from the utility.
With a more detailed understanding of CHW’s customers we would be better able to design engaging and valuable digital solutions, as well as prioritise the delivery of individual service concepts that make up the digital roadmap.
Over an 8-week discovery project, Revium CX Designers sought to gain an understanding of the diverse range of CHW customers. We undertook a comprehensive research program of work that included varied methods across both qualitative and quantitative customer research, including;
- Internal Stakeholder interviews.
- Desk research on local and national water utilities and sector trends.
- Refence site visits with exemplary national water utilities.
- Facilitated customer focus groups.
- In-home or workplace face-to-face interviews across the region with residents, business owners and trade customers.
- Immersion research activities.
Our synthesis process required careful planning and execution to ensure that we could succinctly define and present valuable research insights gleaned from such extensive data inputs from a diverse community.
Utilising Human Centred Design, Revium utilised the CHW research findings to develop and present a series of recommendations for both digital and traditional experiences that were grounded in customer pain-points and opportunities.
Through Prototyping and User Testing activities we were able to gain valuable customer feedback on our concepts and elements of proposed digital solutions, allowing us to further refine the concepts and inform their development.
For phase one of the CHW Digital Roadmap, Revium developed and released the MVP website in December of 2019. The website deployment marks the first key milestone in the ongoing Digital Roadmap strategy.
Through our research we uncovered strong themes on unrest in the community around cost-of-living pressures, environmental issues and concerns about future water prospects for the region. We utilised these findings to define how the website would need to support these themes as well as looking at the more functional and transactional elements for account-holders and businesses.
Further to the MVP website launch, the research outcomes remain central to the concept development for upcoming phases of the website as well as the varied other digital initiatives. The research has also informed a number of other key initiatives aimed at improving Customer Experience and business efficiency, such as changes to contact centre servicing and a holistic Voice-of-Customer program.
CHW have also utilised the detailed research insights to define a Customer Experience roadmap and engagement strategy that will inform the transformation and ongoing iteration and refinement of how customers will experience CHW for a number of years into the future.