Yorkshire Water has enlisted the help of Leeds’ digital trailblazer CDS, to overhaul its digital footprint – and make website experiences more inclusive, accessible and fit-for-purpose.
With a proven track record of delivering transformation projects for other major, public-facing organisations – such as the Metropolitan Police, Social Work England and Transport for London – communications agency CDS has been appointed to lead the nine-month project, working in partnership with SimpleUsability.
Work is already well underway, with an initial research period dedicated to examining Yorkshire Water’s diverse customer personas, user patterns, habits, and behaviours – a study that is being conducted in tandem with behavioural research company, SimpleUsability. The research will drive the wider user experience (UX) strategy, web design and development.
Once complete, the new digital hub will streamline how Yorkshire Water’s 5 million customers pay their bills, report faults, ask questions or discover more about the support available for vulnerable or less affluent customers. The scope of works also includes the potential to integrate further communication channels – such as live chat and WhatsApp – over time.
Yorkshire Water’s digital CX manager, Andrew Bush, will spearhead the newly formed hybrid team which brings together eight in-house digital communicators, 14 specialists from CDS, and a further four analysts from SimpleUsability.
Dominic Squires, head of digital at Yorkshire Water, explained: “Serving such a diverse population with a variety of queries has meant our provision needed to adapt in order to make it accessible to all. Consequently, the company has gone through a substantial amount of change over the past 12 months, as we strive for greater customer focus.
“With inclusivity in design vital to offering a genuinely customer-centric service, never has there been a greater need to understand our customers properly and offer the appropriate communication channels for each individual service user.”
Alex Coates, director of new business and account development at CDS, added: “With over five million people to serve every day, it is vital that Yorkshire Water provides its customers with a digital experience that offers a simple and accessible route to their information and service. It is also critical that customers then have choice and ease in communicating with their supplier.
“The entire project exists to ensure the firm does the right thing by its customers and lives up to the expectations set by some of the other big utilities providers on the market. We have a very exciting brief and are relishing the opportunity to work with our regional neighbours on what promises to be an inspiring project.”
Guy Redwood, founder and managing director at SimpleUsability concluded: “Working alongside Yorkshire Water and CDS on this brief is a great opportunity to not just understand and meet the needs of customers but deliver a digital experience which genuinely delights. We're enjoying exploring the myriad of customer personas and journeys and ensuring that user feedback is incorporated into every stage of the transformation.
“The right combination of technology and user-centred thinking will help this newly created, hybrid team to identify where improvements can be made in terms of Yorkshire Water’s online presence – as well as what the diverse population within the county demands from its main utilities provider.”
As part of the project, Yorkshire Water is also keen to better highlight some of the peripheral services and environmental commitments it provides for customers – such as footpaths around its reservoirs.