Communicating with Ratepayers: Getting Past Paying More for Less
WaterNow Alliance's workshop on communicating with ratepayers provides actionable answers/strategies for connecting with customers about rates while also asking them to use less water and helps water leaders to begin to build a vision around communications opportunities for their utility. The workshop materials are reinforced and expanded on with the "Communicating with Ratepayers Toolkit."
A few workshop highlights and key takeaways:
- It’s worth investing in a long-term communications and outreach strategy with utility ratepayers rather than going to them only “when you need something”
- Utility leaders, staff, and board members may think they know intuitively what messages resonate, but the better strategy is to test messages with polling and focus groups
- Social media is here to stay – at least for now – so it’s prudent to go beyond bill inserts and meet people where they are
- The public is bombarded by between 4-10K ads per day, so breaking through the noise with any kind of communication requires a steady effort and compelling message
- Communications does not require a big budget or large staff – Moulton Nigel Water District has had incredible success turning its staff of 139 into “brand ambassadors” in the community
- The paying more for less conundrum is actually not that hard once you unpack it – the compelling message is that their “water rates are much lower than they would have been in the absence of [conservation].”
The workshop slides and toolkit can be downloaded by WaterNow members through the member portal linked below. Click here to read about a past workshop held in Denver, Colorado.