Trust is vital to improving communities.
If the public doesn’t trust that an issue will be handled, they won’t report it. Their phone will stay in their pocket, as they pass by dumped rubbish, tripping hazards, and other community issues.
Additionally, minor water leaks may not prompt someone to make a phone call, allowing them to develop into large bursts and causing major issues down the track.
This is the reality for Yarra Valley Water, Melbourne’s largest water corporation with over $5.6 billion of infrastructure. They’re faced with the challenge of keeping a network of over 21,000km of water, recycled water and sewer mains across 4,000km² running smoothly.
Engaged, attentive customer service makes the community trust their problem will be solved, even if it hasn’t been yet. But consistently engaging with the community requires smart tools that help the teams involved know where, and when, to focus their resources.
For Yarra Valley Water focusing on customer service, and winning an award for their efforts, has had benefits that go far beyond community satisfaction.
Here’s how they increased report volume by 400%, improved their already stellar average star rating by 6% up to (4.39 out of 5), and better used their resources to save time and money.
A key pillar of Yarra Valley Water’s strategy is ‘transforming around the customer’. They’ve been listening to their community for years, and receive reports through multiple channels.
"At Yarra Valley Water we're committed to providing a service that is easy, caring and responsive to the needs of customers. Snap Send Solve enables us to do this with user-centric technology. Partnering with Snap Send Solve has been a game changer for us, offering better tools for customers and resourcing flexibility.” - Julian Hill, Service Response Divisional Manager
Yarra Valley Water knew they needed to automate their report processing to keep phone lines open for emergency calls and report numbers manageable while maintaining community trust.
The community lies at the centre of Yarra Valley Water’s network.
“We rely on our customers. We do have some smart sensors but the majority of issues are reported by our customers so the easier it is for Yarra Valley Water to do that, the more likely it is that we can fix leaks instead of bursts,” said Stephen Pepping, Manager Service Interactions.
Yarra Valley Water has a service level agreement that 80% of phone calls are answered within 30 seconds, which can be difficult during major faults, says Stephen Pepping, Manager Service Interactions.
“We have some really tight service-level measures for phone calls that are hard to meet when we have some big faults out there.”
Enter, Snap Send Solve.
Working with Snap Send Solve, Yarra Valley Water introduced our embedded webform onto the Yarra Valley Water website to make reporting issues fast and intuitive.
The service requirements for phone calls can become difficult to manage during major faults, especially if minor leaks are still being reported via phone. With minor leaks being reported via Snap Send Solve, employees can more easily focus on high-priority calls, mitigating the peaks associated with major incidents.
During the onboarding process, Stephen Pepping was pleased with how quickly the embedded form could be deployed by Snap Send Solve.
“It was much quicker for Yarra Valley Water to introduce the (Snap Send Solve) embedded webform than doing it internally.”
Yarra Valley Water placed the embedded webform next to their faults map online. Putting them on the same page made it easier than ever to report on one webpage, and the community can see if they are already addressing the issue on the same map.
Snap Send Solve reports help Yarra Valley Water achieve their customer service goals.
Staff can focus on phones during emergencies, and move to Snap Send Solve reports when there are fewer calls, as explained by Stephen Pepping.
“The good thing for us with Snap Send Solve reports is that we can stop work on it to answer a call, whereas you can’t stop a call with a customer. Snap Send Solve really helps with levelling out the peaks and troughs of faults calls. When we have a peak, everyone can focus on the calls, then when it has levelled out we can focus on the Snap Send Solve reports.”
By streamlining online reporting via Snap Send Solve, Yarra Valley Water can avoid this overload for their community and keep the phone lines open for emergencies and higher priority faults.
Yarra Valley Water has seen a 400% increase in Snap Send Solve reports over two years. With reports about minor issues primarily submitted via app and webform, phone lines have been opened up.
Early reporting of minor issues has given Yarra Valley Water advanced notice before they become larger problems, saving on the costs associated with larger repair projects. This early warning is great, says Stephen Pepping.
“Sometimes customers may notice minor issues such as leaks and not bother calling. If they use Snap Send Solve they will report it earlier, which means we can get to it before it becomes a larger leak. We are getting more of the lower priority leaks because it’s easier for customers to report.”
When call volume lowers, the team can move through online reports efficiently, and easily prioritise requests. These efficiency gains are passed onto the teams out on the field.
“Snap Send Solve helps us to prioritise requests in terms of efficiency and we can help prioritise services for teams out in the field. Our maintenance partner then knows which jobs they have coming up.”
Yarra Valley Water’s responsiveness to both phone and online reports has increased community trust that their issue will be handled. In this way, Yarra Valley Water is closer than ever to the community they’re focusing on, and transforming around.
“Snap Send Solve does bring us closer to our customers and it means our customers feel closer to us,” says Stephen Pepping.
And this trust and efficiency are further evidenced by the results. In 2022, Yarra Valley Water received commendations for their amazing customer service.
Last year, Yarra Valley Water won the VIC Customer Service Award in Snap Send Solve’s Solver of the Year Awards (as voted by Snap Send Solve users). Here’s what Snap Send Solve users had to say:
But it isn’t just the community that loves it. There are fans of Snap Send Solve everywhere.
“Our team members are using it internally and saying ‘It’s so easy, I’ve just reported it via Snap Send Solve’. Even our Managing Director Pat McCafferty had used it before [to report to Yarra Valley Water] and said he got a reply straight away.” says Stephen Pepping.
Yarra Valley Water’s commitment to customer service meant introducing more effective, modern ways to produce results for their community.
Working with Snap Send Solve, they promoted both in-app and webform reports, greatly reducing pressure on their customer service team while maintaining a high level of community trust.
“The community uptake of Snap Send Solve is growing month to month, year on year, and there is a lot of trust in it. We get a lot of positive feedback from our customers for using Snap Send Solve, as shown in the recent positive ratings left,” says Stephen Pepping.
But the benefits aren’t confined to high customer satisfaction.
With more reports now submitted digitally, the staff workload is more balanced. During a significant fault with a high call volume, staff can focus on the phones. Meanwhile, when call volume lowers, the team can move through Snap Send Solve reports efficiently.
Introducing the embedded webform has allowed Yarra Valley Water to more effectively prioritise major and minor issues across its large service area and has reduced the risk of major incidents and the costs they incur.
Yarra Valley Water is excited to see what they can achieve with further Snap Send Solve integration and automation in the future.
If you’re looking for a scalable solution that gives your customer service teams greater power to prioritise, reach out to us now.