United Utilities

United Utilities

Consistent and creative customer communications – writing project

United Utilities is the UK’s largest listed water company. It operates in the North West of England and is responsible for managing the regulated water and waste water network across the region, which includes Cumbria, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside – covering a population of nearly seven million.

The Brief
United Utilities was preparing for the water deregulation changes coming into force in a traditionally highly regulated market. As part of this preparation, it was carrying out a review of all of its customer communications which covered all areas of contact. It engaged Firework PR to carry out work on the multiple letters sent out to all customers covering its various services. The objective was to ensure the messaging was consistent, engaging, clear and that there was a regular form of communication that customers would recognise, welcome and provide positive feedback on.

The project covered over 100 various letter forms, including lengthy and highly technical content, detailed contractual information as well as regular reminder letters for example. The project also had to be completed to exacting timescales in order that the organisation could meet the deadlines of the overarching customer communications project.

Firework worked closely with the customer team and marketing team at United Utilities to ensure the content delivered the above objectives within the agreed timescales. The project was complicated as new contractual and legal details had to be incorporated, resulting to additional layers of reviews and approvals. Despite the challenges, the project hit all the agreed targets. United Utilities was able to demonstrate a high level of readiness in preparation for the water market deregulations. Firework was engaged further to complete a case studies programme, following a formal tender process.

In 2016, United Utilities and Severn Trent Water received approval to create a new joint venture company in preparation for the water market deregulation and formed Water Plus.