Thames Water Partnership

In March 2018, Greenredeem & Thames Water launched a partnership to motivate customers to use less water at home by rewarding them. Using weekly smart meter data, residents would be rewarded for using less water, based on their actual consumption. They were engaged with targeted communications and campaigns that highlighted ways in which they could save water.


We have worked with Greenredeem over the last couple of years, setting up a programme to reward our smart metered household customers to save water. Our customers are rewarded with points that can be used with shopping or activity discounts, prize draws and charity donations.

Greenredeem have shown sector-leading abilities to create innovative customer engagement and adapt to a changing landscape. They have proven that regular customer engagement yields measurable water savings, plus shown that offering incentives can help maximise the benefit from smarter meter data.

We look forward to helping more customers with water saving rewards in the future.

Results & outcomes

Since the scheme commenced, nearly 200,000 individual household meter readings have been received. We’ve compared these to each member’s personal interactions with the scheme, and come to 7 conclusions:

  1. Rewarding customers reduces water usage.
  2. Customers use the scheme in different ways.
  3. The more customers interact, the more water efficient they become.
  4. Dashboards don’t work on their own.
  5. Customer engagement happens over many touch points.
  6. Customers are motivated differently.
  7. Customers are highly satisfied.

Rewarding customers reduces water usageOverall, during the scheme, household water consumption of registered households fell by -4%.Evaluatingdifferent household compositions, the saving was fairly even across all household types. The per capita consumption (PCC) of households in the scheme fell to 117.1 litres / pp / day(compared to a network average of 148 litres / pp / day), It also indicates that meaningful savings can still be madeat lower consumption levels.There is a concern that reducing water consumption becomes harderas consumption levels reduce. With many water companies target a PCC of 100 litres / pp / day, this provides evidence that this may be within reach.

Overall, during the scheme, household water consumption of registered households fell by -4%. Evaluating different household compositions, the saving was fairly even across all household types. The per capita consumption (PCC) of households in the scheme fell to 117.1 litres / pp / day which was -21% lower than the network average (network average is 148 litres / pp / day),

It also indicates that meaningful savings can still be made at lower consumption levels. There is a concern that reducing water consumption becomes harder as consumption levels reduce. With many water companies target a PCC of 100 litres / pp / day, this provides evidence that this may be within reach.

Customers use the scheme in different ways

By tracking customer engagement over 2 years, we were able to build up a picture of different types of customers and what they were doing.

‘Information gatherers’ – (Interact with dashboard only)
1/4 of community

Some customers purely used the scheme as an information portal. They would log in, view the usage data, sometimes spending the points they have accrued for direct water saving – but importantly not interact with any of the campaign learn and activities. 

Key characteristics included:

  • Curious, information seekers
  • Interested in understanding their water usage
  • Don’t interact with hints & tips
  • Spend 1% of points earned on incentives
 

Water wonderers’ – (Interact with dashboard + take hints and tips)
3/4 of community

Other customers were more engaged. They would view usage data on their dashboard, interact with campaign learn and earn activities, and then reward themselves using the points they had gained from both direct and indirect action.

ey characteristics included:

  • A wide spectrum of members by volume of interactions
  • Participate regularly with hints & tips
  • Complete up to 12 interactions a month
  • Spend 37% of points earned on incentives
 

The more members interact, the more water efficient they become

By linking together the number of completed interactions that each household took, with the impact on their water usage then the full potential can be understood.

As shown in the chart below, the more that a customer interacts with the scheme, the greater the impact there is on their water usage. A completed interaction wasn’t just talking to the member, but the member completing an action. Nearly 2/3 of members were interacting consistently every 10-15 days over a 2 year period. This frequent level of interaction created a strong foundation on which sustained behaviour change was built.

Dashboards don’t work on their own

Earlier in this case study, two customer groups were identified; ‘information gatherers’ & ‘water wonderers’. The ‘information gatherers’ used the scheme to provide water usage information only. The impact of their water usage was a modest reduction of -0.3%.

Whereas, those that interacted, built their knowledge & understanding, spent points and were interacting up to 12 times a month saw their water usage reduce by -3%. This is a 10x difference in the groups and quite clearly demonstrates the impact that active engagement and conversation can have on household water usage.

‘Information gatherers’ – (Interact with dashboard only)
1/4 of community

  • Curious, information seekers
  • Interested in understanding their water usage
  • Don’t interact with hints & tips
  • Spend 1% of points earned on incentives
1 in 4 of the community – reducing consumption by -0.3%
 

Water wonderers’ – (Interact with dashboard + take hints and tips)
3/4 of community

  • A wide spectrum of members by volume of interactions
  • Participate regularly with hints & tips
  • Complete up to 12 interactions a month
  • Spend 37% of points earned on incentives
3 in 4 of the community – reducing consumption by -3%
 

Customer engagement happens over many touchpoints

Customers took 150,301 actions during the two year case study period.

Each action represented a completed engagement between the water company and their customer. This is an important distinction, as this represents continuing a conversation with a customer, rather than simply sending a communication & not knowing whether it’s been read or not.

Typically ,a water company will contact a customer twice a year through the billing process. By its very nature, the billing process isn’t a particularly positive experience, as it represents a (necessary & fair) demand for money. 

It is a very difficult environment in which to engage with a customer about other aspects, such as water saving or water efficiency. Whilst billing is an opportunity to talk to the customer directly, water efficiency and saving messages are packed in alongside many other key messages, which makes it difficult to deliver cut through, or gain message retention.

However, the Greenredeem platform did provide a positive environment in which to engage with customers about water efficiency. On average customers completed an interaction about once every 10 -15 days, with some being more prolific.

Customers are motivated differently

During the two year study, customers earned 5.6m points and spent 2.0m points, representing a spend rate of 36%. Unlike many point-based schemes, our intention is to promote opportunities for participants to reward themselves and use their points, as this reinforces behaviour change.

Understanding that there is no one size fits all approach, the outcomes of the two year case study show how important it is to have a wide range of ways in which to engage customers.

Customers earned their points in a variety of ways. Whilst taking a pledge was most popular, the ability to reinforce knowledge through a quiz or expand understanding through watching a film was equally of interest. Demonstrating that there is no ‘one size fits all’ method to changing behaviour, participants used all aspects of the rewards programme. Whilst there was a bias towards redeeming points for prize draw activity, having a choice ensured that the proposition remained relevant at all times.

Customers are highly satisfied

Customer insights are gathered on a regular basis, and used as the basis of assessing the scheme, and how it can be improved. A survey of 121 members in May 2020 showed that:

0 %
Increased awareness of how much water being used at home
0 %
Would recommend Greenredeem to family & friends
0 %
Value water more positively since joining Greenredeem
0 %
Are now using water differently since joining Greenredeem

Get in touch

For more information, or to have a conversation about how your water company could benefit from understanding how to motivate customers to be more water efficient, please get in touch!