Seize an emotional connection with your customers.
While water infrastructure remains mostly hidden, water utilities should not be. The public must understand the vital role these utilities play in the survival and prosperity of the communities they serve.
In 2010, DC Water launched a nationally-renowned rebranding campaign with the primary objective of seizing an emotional connection with its customers. Billions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades and increasingly expensive regulatory mandates loomed, with revenues down from declining water consumption. DC Water had to re-establish its presence and credibility with the customer base as rates have doubled in the last decade and continue to outpace inflation. DC Water’s experience is a model for how utilities can transform the perceptions of the communities they serve – from a buried, passive, reactionary (only call in times of emergency) model to a visible, proactive and engaged partner in the community.
Blue Drop can lend its expertise in several different areas:
- Articulating a tactical communications vision and plan for your utility with a road map to implementation
- Conducting community outreach, including using social media, to creatively and quickly connect with your customers
- Identifying ways to become more embedded in your local community
- Breaking down organizational silos and aligning stakeholders across different departments to ensure you are responding in real time with one voice to customers’ needs.
- Leveraging the communication tool kits that DC Water has successfully implemented for you to deploy in your local community.
Learn how to build and sustain the next generation of leaders.
Upon taking the helm of then-DC WASA in 2009, George Hawkins inherited a financially sound and operationally functional agency. But the water and sewer utility serving the nation’s capital had much work to do on its relationships with elected stakeholders and the public.
In the years since, Hawkins built DC Water into a responsive and dynamic enterprise known around the world as a leader in its field.
Through Blue Drop, Hawkins and his top leadership team can bring you guidance on how to:
- Find leaders in unexpected places, attract them to your utility and keep them performing
- Inspire your workforce to rally behind your mission of public health and environmental protection
- Get support from regulators and political leaders for your key initiatives
Gain expertise in GI program planning for stormwater management.
Green infrastructure (GI) is a powerful tool for cities and utilities to meet wet weather regulatory requirements and improve resiliency in the face of a changing climate. For successful implementation, GI planning requires consideration of the entire GI lifecycle – scoping, design, construction, maintenance, and preservation. A holistic program should build off an entity’s established goals by identifying the scope and scale, locations (geography, private vs. public properties), and technologies to establish metrics for program success. For cities and utilities that need to develop or expand a GI program, Blue Drop offers expertise directly from GI managers experienced in the development and implementation of DC Water’s GI program. Below are examples of how DC Water’s expertise can support your organization’s GI implementation.
Asset Management and Maintenance
DC Water manages GI as an asset, just like other urban infrastructure, which requires planning for long-term maintenance to ensure performance, safety, and aesthetics. We can provide:
- Asset management hierarchies and data identification, establishing the framework for assets and to support alignment with other enterprise infrastructure
- Mobile work order solutions, ensuring timely completion of work orders and data tracking for maintenance and cost optimization
- Optimized maintenance tasks and frequencies, providing effective and efficient use of resources and ensuring project performance
Stakeholder Engagement, Education, and Outreach
DC Water believes internal and external stakeholder relationships are important components to successful projects. These require consistent interaction throughout the planning, design, construction and maintenance phases of a project. We can provide:
- Development and implementation of engagement plans, allowing for proactive relationship management with identified key stakeholders
- Toolkits of outreach materials, ensuring maximum reach with various stakeholder backgrounds, interests, and geographies throughout a project
Private Property Incentive Programs
DC Water utilizes private property incentive programs to support stakeholder stewardship and encourage use of cost effective implementation. We can provide:
- GI opportunity identification, determining the GI technologies that best consider space and constraints on private property in your community
- Incentive strategy evaluation and program development, encouraging participation and building community excitement
- Mobile data collection framework, enabling real-time data collection and tracking for reporting
Workforce Development and Job Training
DC Water believes a trained and skilled workforce supports facility performance and longevity and provides social and economic benefits for communities. We can provide:
- Candidate screening and recruitment strategies, identifying candidate motivations and managing candidate expectations
- GI technical training and mentoring, providing worker knowledge for construction, inspection, and maintenance activities
- Certification exam preparation, validating worker knowledge and supporting career pathways
Enhance your customer service experience with tools and training programs.
DC Water has invested in training its customer service staff to be the one-call shop for all customer requests. Customers are assured a consistent and responsive level of service. Blue Drop offers assessments and training plans to assist other utilities in improving their customer service operations.