Aqua America taps mobile for interactive water conservation push
By Chantal Tode
February 4, 2014
Aqua America has a new mobile Web app
Aqua America has launched its first mobile Web application to make it easy for customers to access tips about how to conserve water.
The water utility is diving into mobile and social as a way to enhance and simplify customer service. Previously, Aqua America had handed out a paper spinning wheel as a means of distributing water conservation tips.
“It looked old and it felt old,” said Justin Pizzi, director of communications at Aqua America, Bryn Mawr, PA. “In an effort to try to reinvent it, we said, 'Why don’t we go mobile.'
“We see this as an educational tool for teachers to use and for kids to learn about how water works and to share with all customers conservation tips,” he said. “We wanted to make it easily accessible.
“With what we do, it is one of the last true monopolies. You can’t choose your water company but, at the same time, we wanted to increase customer service, and this seems like a good way to do it.”
Aqua America is one of the largest publicly traded water utilities based in the United States. It serves nearly three million people in eight states, including Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina and Illinois.
The population in the United States continues to grow along with the demand for water. At the same time, many areas of the country are facing water shortages, pointing to the need for a proactive approach to conservation to protect water resources.
The Web-based app from Aqua America focuses on educating consumers about how to conserve water in their day-to-day activities as a way to reduce their total environmental impact.
The company’s Facebook and Twitter offerings were rolled out to customers in the past month, followed by the WaterSmart mobile Web app.
The app features an illustration of a home with several pulsing buttons in each room that can be clicked on to see a related water conservation tip. Areas of focus include cleaning, gardening and personal care.
There is also downloadable content featuring diagrams that explain the processes for treating surface water, groundwater and wastewater.
Customer service building block
Using direct links from within the app, consumers can share the content on social media or by email.
The app is accessible from tablets and smartphones as well as desktop and laptop computers.
The utility company already sees many of its customers paying their bills from mobile devices.
Going forward, the company will look to provide more information to mobile users, such as their water usage over time, and will provide most of the information that they can get through their water bill. Additionally, it will look to bring payments to the app to make it easier for customers to pay their bills.
“There is an interactive screen showing the house and each room. Each tip is pulsing for a self guided tour,” Mr. Pizzi said. “It is not just static.
“We see this as a building block of customer service,” he said.
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York
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