Engaging your key audiences gets the good work done.  

We may know the right thing to do. But do we always do it? And how do you inspire others to do the right thing?

The Consumer Policy and Research Centre (CPRC) built the Building Customer Trust report; a clear, practical and engaging toolkit that shows electricity and water companies how to build trust with their most important stakeholder, the customer.

Quite simply, CPRC researched ways that electricity and water companies create good customer experiences and now they are encouraging the adoption of these best practices across Victoria.

As we learned in our previous article, it is CPRC’s role to drive policy development and better protect consumers. CPRC’s Acting CEO at the time, Petrina Dorrington, says that, “We had an initial report, but we didn’t know how to get the businesses on board and embed the principles in the community.”

The initial CPRC research revealed a number of key principles and several case studies from which businesses could learn. So the organisation wanted to make it easy for the electricity and water sectors to engage with and apply their research.

CPRC engaged Midnightsky to lead them through a process that Petrina says is, “strategic, creative and gets the best out of people.” The final report made the original, solid information clear and inspiring, as well as engaged key stakeholders in the power of the research.

How did the report achieve this?

Using language that speaks to your audience
One key part of the process was to look at the language of the report. The report distilled the many research principles into four, making it more likely that businesses will remember and apply the information. The report used warm and direct language to reflect one of CPRC’s key aims; to build trust between people and their electricity or water supplier.

The original research title was changed from the pragmatic but cold, ‘Principles of a fair consumer experience’ to the report’s more welcoming title that resonates with both industry and community, ‘Building Customer Trust’. And similarly, the language throughout the report was simplified to help communicate the messages more directly.

Getting audience skin in the game
The second key part of the process was to engage the broader water and electricity sector to build ownership in the report. This simple action can be extremely powerful.

Workshops were held with key stakeholders, including utility companies and community reference groups, to gather out their feedback on the four key principles.

The workshops also sought their input on the best actions that will help businesses to embed the practices. Petrina says that, “the workshops created excitement as the participants started to see how the report could contribute to positive relationships with customers and, in particular, support the most vulnerable in our community”.

The report is already making its way into the right hands. It was launched in September 2017 by ‘Thriving Communities Partnership’ , a cross-sector community and industry collaboration that includes Yarra Valley Water.

So next time you’re talking with your Electricity or Water supplier and you leave the conversation feeling heard, reassured and satisfied, it may have something to do with the good work of the good people at the Consumer Policy and Research Centre and their ‘Building Customer Trust’ Report.

by Cressida Bradley

Check out more stories in the category: Consult, Knowledge Bank