Tool

Transparent customer communication

Provision of all required information to customers.

DESCRIPTION

Transparency in the communication with customers means providing customers with all the information they need to make informed decisions.

PURPOSE & LINK TO INTEGRITY

Improving communication with customers and access to information increases transparency and accountability within the water sector. It is also an effective tool for organisations to increase their marketing activities and adapt their services to the current demand.1,2

Where information is not freely and easily accessible, corruption can thrive and basic rights may not be realised. Armed with more and more useful information, customers can make sure they get the services they are entitled to.2,3

KEY REQUIREMENTS

n.a.

HOW TO

Concrete actions to improve customer feedback and communication include:2

  • Providing performance-related information with bills
  • Providing customers with access to information on budget, expenditure and performance
  • Mounting information campaigns on hygiene awareness and efficient use of water, as well as on investments made, coverage achieved, and quality of services
  • Holding workshops to explain content of contracts for investments, works, and service provision
  • Publishing tariff structures
  • Conducting user surveys.

KEY GUIDING DOCUMENTS

Vidicia, 2012, Best Practices for Communicating with Your Customers, USA

Asís, M. G. De, Leary, D. O., Ljung, P. & Butterworth, J., 2009, Improving Transparency, Integrity, and Accountability in Water Supply and Sanitation, World Bank Institute & Transparency International

TI, no year, Access to Information, Transparency International (TI), Germany, http://www.transparency.org/topic/detail/accesstoinformation, accessed 02.12.2015

TARGETED EXAMPLES

How the NWSC Involves Its Customers in Its Decision Making4

Target group: Utilities

Location: Uganda

Customers are involved in NWSC [National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Uganda] decision making mainly through “strategic alliance meetings”. All NWSC areas of operations have mapped out stakeholders among the customer base (customer segments). These include water vendors, water kiosk and public standpipe operators, urban authorities, large government consumers, urban poor communities, restaurant operators, industries, educational academic organisations, and so on. The NWSC area management teams conduct regularly scheduled strategic alliance meetings with the different customer segments. At the strategic meetings, customers can state what they require from the NWSC. These requirements are taken as action items for the NWSC area management. The action items sometimes require the area management to sell the ideas agreed upon in the strategic alliance meetings to the NWSC head office and seek the necessary assistance and support. For instance, strategic alliance meetings in the Fort Portal area with the managers of tea estates (Mitchell Cots, Rwenzori, and so on) resulted in an action item of making 12- kilometer mains extension to the estates, which was financed by the NWSC head office. The mains extension was commissioned in October 2003.”

FURTHER  READINGS

Baietti, A., Kingdom, W. & van Ginneken, M., 2006, Characteristics of Well- Performing Public Water Utilities, Water Supply Sanitation Working Notes.

FULL REFERENCES

  1. Vidicia, 2012, Best Practices for Communicating with Your Customers, USA
  2. Asís, M. G. De, Leary, D. O., Ljung, P. & Butterworth, J., 2009, Improving Transparency, Integrity, and Accountability in Water Supply and Sanitation, World Bank Institute & Transparency International
  3. TI, no year, Access to Information, Transparency International (TI), Germany, http://www.transparency.org/topic/detail/accesstoinformation, accessed 02.12.2015
  4. Baietti, A., Kingdom, W. & van Ginneken, M., 2006, Characteristics of Well- Performing Public Water Utilities, Water Supply Sanitation Working Notes.
Last updated 20 February 2018

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