Water Journal : Water Journal June 2014
JUNE 2014 WATER 97 Water Business WATER BUSINESS SUPPORTING VULNERABLE CUSTOMERS Living costs in Australia have increased by 40% in the past decade as Australians pay more for essential services such as healthcare, education, food, energy and housing. The Melbourne water industry is conscious of the fact that more and more customers are now vulnerable to nancial hardship, and that the number of customers seeking nancial assistance is on the rise. As a result, the Melbourne water industry is collaborating with three leading social service organisations via the Vulnerable Customer Taskforce comprising senior managers from City West Water, South East Water, Yarra Valley Water and Western Water, as well as CEOs from Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service, Kildonan Uniting Care and AMES. Via this joint effort, the Taskforce aims to actively respond to this challenge by identifying, prioritising, guiding and progressing industry-wide programs that support vulnerable customers and front-line staff, and add value to existing programs. An initial project, funded by the Smart Water Fund, was initiated by the Taskforce to provide the Melbourne metropolitan water industry with intelligence to help shape effective and innovative strategies to address current and future challenges in relation to nancial hardship and vulnerability. Independent market and social researchers GA Research and strategic advisory rm Kreab Gavin Anderson were selected through a competitive tender process to deliver this objective. The project was conducted using a robust process over a three-month period. Data was collected and statistically veri ed via: • An Initial Literature Review: 40 local and international items reviewed; • Stakeholder Interviews: 13 in-depth qualitative interviews with 20 key stakeholders; • Customer Research: 16 in-depth qualitative interviews with customers and a quantitative survey of n=1,326 customers; • Analysis and Customer Segmentation: A 'commitment-based' macro segmentation, complex analysis to identify segments based on the individual customer situation and their payment and support preferences; • Innovation Workshop: Two-day innovation workshop attended by 45 stakeholders. Key ndings concluded that: • There is a general lack of suitable mechanisms for identifying and supporting vulnerable customers to help them avoid falling into serious dif culty; DELIVERING PUMPING SOLUTIONS Call us to discuss your applications: Melbourne 03 9793 9999 Sydney 02 9671 3666 Brisbane 07 3200 6488 Email: email@example.com Web: www.brownbros.com.au HYDROVAR, the modern variable speed pump drive is taking pumping to a new level of flexibility and efficiency.
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