Supporting customers for Irish Water
With Dept’s help, Irish Water created an accessible, user-centric website using content and messages people could identify with.
With users at heart
Irish Water is Ireland’s national water utility, providing water and wastewater services to over 2 million Irish homes and businesses. Launched in 2013, it combined the public water and wastewater services of 31 local authorities into one national utility.
Dept worked with Irish Water across all their digital touchpoints. Together we created an accessible, user-centric website using content and messages people could identify with. Over the last four years water.ie has transitioned from a transactional to a support driven website for our customers. We provide regular updates for our customers about their water services and supply as well as the status of local projects. We have improved our self-service offering for Businesses with pay now, direct debit and online account functionality.
using messages people could identify with
Building up the brand’s reputation
Initially, the public’s main engagement with, and awareness of Irish Water had predominantly revolved around gathering of contact details and the introduction of billing for domestic water usage. The main challenges were ensuring that the Irish public had access to information on water services, as well as educating them on understanding the true value of water. Irish Water had much to communicate and presenting this content in a coherent manner was one of the main hurdles to overcome. The content needed to be relevant to the user, accessible, searchable and easily digestible. Dept developed excellent solutions to cater for these requirements.
Building up the brand’s reputation was also imperative. This meant that the delivery of all digital solutions had to be to an extremely high standard, with the ability to operate across all device types.
Emerging from the refund period in late 2017, Irish Water seized upon the opportunity to rebuild and re-engage with its customers with some impressive results.
Irish Water faced a huge challenge to restore brand perception. However, we have never lost sight of what we set out to achieve from the outset; that is to transform Ireland’s Water Services, to provide safe and reliable supply of drinking water and to collect wastewater and safely return it to the environment.
In 2018 Irish Water’s digital goal was to use digital services and offerings to improve our online services to customers, increase awareness of our work and ultimately strengthen our brand identity. This was to be achieved by deepening our understanding of our users, users’ tasks, and touchpoints.
Providing best in class digital communications
We are both a retail and an infrastructure business so water.ie manages 2,000+ pages to inform internal and external stakeholders. We use regular UX research to inform the evolution of site architecture and continuously improve user experience.
Our focus is on providing best in class digital communications which enable customers to find the information and services they need on their channel of choice with minimum effort.
Service & Supply Map
Our Service & Supply map highlights local water supply issues, such as no water or low water pressure. The map integrates Geographic Information Systems with Google Maps. Users can filter through all alerts or use a drop-down menu to find their area.
Outages are added to the map along with next-step recommendations. Alerts are accessible to contact centre and for social media sharing by Irish Water Customer Service on Twitter. Usage has increased from 235,000 unique pageviews in 2017 to 435,000 unique pageviews in 2018, deflecting a significant number of contacts to the Customer Service Centre.
Content has been developed to encourage water conservation in homes and businesses. Simple conservation tips and information show how small changes in awareness and actions can make a big difference to our water supplies. Irish Water now has a bank of content, animations and ‘how-to’ videos to address all queries.
Crisis Response - Water Shortages
Ireland experienced low rainfall in late 2017 and 2018 which led to water restrictions and shortages in summer 2018. This resulted in a water shortages section of the website being launched to communicate any restrictions and work being carried out. It includes interactive maps and charts to display current alerts and stats.
Siteimprove.com is used to ensure the quality and the performance of the website is of a consistently high standard. Siteimprove serves numerous purposes, but in particular it allows us monitor the performance of content and accessibility along with search engine optimisation.
Dept transformed the ‘Contact Us’ section of water.ie, creating a self-service information knowledge structure. Users can easily find any topics or queries relevant to them. The bounce rate dropped from 46% to 17% as more customers were able to self-serve instead of calling.
Emerging from the refund period, Irish Water seized upon the opportunity to rebuild and re-engage with its customers with some impressive results.
- After the launch of a national water conservation campaign, the water.ie/conserve campaign page generated 155,405 pageviews – 33.78% of all pageviews in August ‘18. 40% of the website traffic to the ‘Conserve Water’ page was organic
- The Conservation Campaign on Facebook had excellent results, with 1.43m impressions, 137k Video views and 17k click-throughs. Twitter had 55k impressions, 263k video views and 6.1k click-throughs
- The Projects Sections of the website showcased a large project in Cork – Cork Lower Harbour. A targeted social media campaign took place on Facebook with an increased engagement of 150k users
- Launched in 2018 the Irish Water Facebook page had over 5,000 likes, over 494k organic impressions and 8.1m paid impressions Targeted local posts are used to communicate critical local information to a wide reach
- During Storm Emma there were 103 Tweets from @irishwater and 875k impressions of Irish Water content during the incident
- A paid advertising campaign on Twitter to promote Winter Ready content on Irish Water’s specific customer care Twitter account (@IWCare) delivered 478k impressions over 6 days