Best internal communications strategy 2019 Article icon

Best

Anglian Water supplies water and water recycling services to more than six million customers, stretching from Humber estuary, north of Grimsby, to the Thames estuary, and from Buckinghamshire to Lowestoft on the east coast. As part of its Love Every Drop, sustainability strategy, Anglian Water has set itself the demanding target of 100 per cent customer satisfaction. 


To achieve its new customer experience targets, Anglian Water needed to hit customer satisfaction scores akin to consumer brands such as John Lewis, First Direct and Amazon. It needed a transformative strategy and internal engagement and communications plan that would ensure that every one of its 5,000 employees, including those in non-customer facing roles, views customer experience as part of their job. 


But rather than simply launch a new strategy, Anglian Water embarked on a series of focus groups, interviews and full-day co-creation workshops to develop insights and new ideas with more than 300 colleagues across eight locations, ranging from the chief executive Peter Simpson to a front-line engineer.


This work resulted in a new strategy and internal customer experience brand called Make Today Great, built on the insight that Anglian Water is not just a utility company but that every employee has the opportunity to make life better for customers, every single day. 


To empower Anglian Water employees, 800 Make Today Great toolkits were delivered to managers to launch the idea in their teams, which included a film bringing the concept to life, a letter from Simpson, PowerPoint templates, conversation cards to prompt discussions about trickery customer scenarios or inspiring brands, posters and lanyards. The posters carried inspiring messages, such as Today you’ve got the chance to make someone’s life a little better and What could you be doing right now that could make a customer’s day? Make Today Great customer service training was also delivered to 55 leaders, 265 managers and 2,000 front line staff. 


The launch was promoted by a Make Today Great wrap, which covered Anglian Water’s internal magazine, featuring details of the strategy, competitions, stories and an invitation to visit a new microsite, which served as a hub for employees to share customer service stories and ideas. (This was critical to share best practice and grow momentum.) 


A new reward scheme, Going the extra mile, offers financial prizes to employees recognised by a colleague for their great service. More than 10,000 GEM prizes have been awarded. Anglian Water also left surprise coffee vouchers, disguised as parking tickets, on employees’ cars and engineers’ vans across the region. Make Today Great has also become part of each new joiner’s induction and is also added to all business meeting agendas. 


As a result of the campaign, customer complaints have fallen by 21 per cent while employee engagement in Anglian Water’s December 2018 internal survey stood at 82 per cent, with the greatest improvements around customer focus. All scores exceed results from the 2017 survey. Anglian Water was also awarded 2018 Best Place to Work in the UK, as ranked by its employees, by Glassdoor, beating Google and Microsoft. It has also risen to first place on Ofwat’s Service Incentive Mechanism, which compares water companies’ performance in all aspects of customer service delivery.


The judges loved the ‘clear campaign strapline’, adding that it ‘answered the brief, was fun and engaging and enjoyed compelling results’.