Welsh Water brings in bilingual chatbot to engage customers

Welsh Water brings in bilingual chatbot to engage customers

In what is one of its largest ever consultations, Welsh Water is using a Welsh bilingual chatbot to engage customers in how it tackles its biggest future problems.

The chatbot is part of the not-for-profit water company’s ‘Have Your Say’ consultation, seeking the views of 3 million customers on how to adapt to issues such as climate change, upgrading the water system, and the future of sewer networks, whilst keeping bills affordable for customers.

As the first Welsh bilingual chatbot to launch in the UK, it asks users a series of questions about water, and the work Welsh Water does in the community to enable it to learn more about what their customers in England and Wales see as priorities and reach audiences never engaged before.

Customers can give their views through the bilingual chatbot through Facebook Messenger or via a special website dedicated to the service.

The chatbot asks customers to rank how it should prioritise responding to major challenges facing Wales and Herefordshire over the next few decades, including:

  • Better water quality for all
  • Working with nature for cleaner water
  • Making water supply more reliable
  • Making things better for customers who are let down most often
  • Working with nature to reduce flooding and risk of pollution
  • Cleaner beaches and rivers
  • Help for people who struggle to pay their bill
  • Giving more back to our communities

The results will feed into its Welsh Water 2050 consultation, as well as influence the business plan it will submit to the industry regulator, Ofwat, on how it intends to improve services and keep bills lower between 2020-2025.

Head of Marketing, Morgan Lloyd, said: “Not many people will get excited about taking part in a consultation on water. And we’re asking some pretty big questions on complex issues, so we knew we had to take a different approach.

“We’ve created an industry-first Facebook Messenger chatbot consultation to bring our work to life in a fun, quick and engaging way.

“Facebook now has around 40 million monthly active users in the UK. The chatbot, developed with Coup Media and Carbon Studio, means that we can engage with a huge potential audience on a platform they are familiar and comfortable with.

"It also allows us to reach and target demographic groups that may not traditionally have their say – be that young people or hard to reach groups, all without the problem we used to face of dropout during channel shifting online. It’s a World first for the Welsh language with people able to have their say via a Messenger chatbot for the very first time”.

Customers can submit their views through the chatbot until 18 September.