Anglian Water, a UK water company that operates in the east of England, is committed to reducing water consumption in the area. In 2017 Anglian Water teamed up with Advizzo to deploy a data and behavioral science based customer engagement strategy to incentivize customers to reduce their water consumption. The 12 month project which is detailed here focused on 4,500 households in Newmarket, and successfully reduced overall water consumption by 8% – a staggering 18,500 litres a day!

As part of the project, Advizzo and Anglian Water developed a unique water consumption portal, giving residents within the customer engagement project, access to insights into their household’s water consumption, including comparisons with the consumption of similar households in the area.

Historically, up to 15% of customers signed up to access the standalone portal. Anglian Water was keen to encourage more customers to sign-up as it is a powerful tool for incentivizing water consumption reduction through personalized tips and social norm messaging.
Advizzo was invited to implement a software solution based on behavioral science, to increase the number of portal sign-ups and decrease per capita consumption (PCC).

The solution

Our target audience involved 4,300 Anglian Water customers in cities of Newmarket, Colchester and Norwich. We randomly divided the customers into three groups, each of which were sent letters and emails on a monthly basis, over a 12 month period. We wanted to see whether different ‘treatments’ would encourage more sign-ups.

The first group received a ‘control’ treatment. This was the standard water consumption report that Advizzo issued to customers during the first phase of the project. The second group received a ‘feedback seeking’ treatment. This communication encouraged customers to seek feedback about their water consumption by signing up to the portal. The final group received a ‘benefits’ treatment. This communication detailed all the benefits of the online portal, inviting customers to sign-up.

The results

The two treatment communications increased portal sign-ups by up to 11%, with the benefits treatment slightly outperforming the feedback seeking treatment.

However when looking at PCC savings, households that received the feedback communication decreased their consumption more than households that received the benefits treatment. This is due to the fact that the feedback seeking letter makes use of some ‘social norms’ comparisons, which is Advizzo’s proven approach for water saving.

In terms of total PCC, the control communication that provides bill payers with neighbor comparison stats, outperformed the two new treatments. Our conclusion is that behavioural messaging can help boost digitalization while still achieving water savings. The Advizzo Water use report still remains the most effective PCC reduction, but combining this with other messaging can lead to boosts in other areas as well. We are continuing to investigate and experiment to determine the optimal customer journey to boost both digitization and water saving.

Next steps

In the next phase of the Advizzo project Anglian Water will roll-out communications to all of Anglian Water’s new smart meter customers, and is continuing to discuss new experiments to optimize the customer experience.

If you’d like to find out more about our customer engagement solutions for reducing PCC, then discover our work with South East Water or visit the water and energy saving solution page.

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