Utility–Customer Communication: The Case of Water Utilities
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article › Scientific › peer-review
|Journal||Public Works Management and Policy|
|Early online date||22 Sep 2015|
|Publication status||Published - 2015|
|Publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
The aim of this article is to shed light on the theory and praxis of utility stakeholder communication. Our general research objective is to contrast citizens’ experiences of utility-specific information needs with the views of communication managers of municipal water utilities. Empirical data for the study were gathered using two methods. Citizens’ views were gathered from street interviews in several Finnish middle-sized cities, whereas the views of communication professionals of municipal water utilities were collected via email-based survey. Empirical analysis shows that one-way communication has its relevance, and it should actually be improved most notably in exceptional situations, such as water supply disruptions. More profound changes in customer communication require, however, that utilities support customers’ strive for sustainable and economical water consumption. The overall challenge to utilities is to get closer to the everyday needs of their customers and to develop new communication culture to support such an endeavor.