American Water optimizes customer data management.

American Water leveraged Expert Support to optimize customer data management.

Water is a critical resource for homes and businesses, and managing that resource is becoming especially important during this era of climate change. Suppliers must ensure the water they provide is safe and that supplies are reliable.

American Water is the largest publicly traded water company in the U.S., with more than 7,000 employees in 46 states managing municipal water and wastewater systems. The company prides itself on being a helpful partner for communities that don’t have the capacity or resources to provide clean water to their citizens.

The company had used Salesforce to help it engage with customers since 2004, but until recently lacked any governance or best practices relating to its use. This had led to many contacts and records being duplicated, creating confusion for users. Engagement with the solution was poor and many key features were underutilized.

Looking for a backup solution to increase safety in their existing organization, Kathleen Udasco, Manager of the company’s Corporate Business Development Department, and her team worked with experts available as part of Salesforce’s specialist support plan.

Here are four steps from American Water’s journey you can take to help you maximize the value of your customer relationship (CRM) management solution.

 
 
 

1. Choose partners who can help speed up problem-solving.

To help American Water streamline employees’ use of its CRM platform, the company drew on the expert support and guidance available as part of its Premier Success Plan.

This included having access to a dedicated advisor, who worked closely with the team to identify and resolve the key issues preventing the company from maximizing the value of its digital investment.

By drawing on the extensive technical resources available, American Water was able to implement a backup solution that gave the company additional peace of mind without the need for a heavy administrative lift.

“Our customer success manager is awesome. He always sends me more resources than I need and connects me with the right people. He’s also helped me take an inventory of what we’re doing well and what we can improve on. It’s been a great experience.”
Kathleen Udasco, Manager, Corporate Business Development

 
 

“Our customer success manager was able to help us set a path for success. I’m very task orientated, so having a timeline has been very helpful for me to ensure we’re on track and making the improvements we need to.”

Kathleen Udasco

Manager, Corporate Business Development
 
 

2. Streamline the user experience to improve engagement.

To encourage users to engage with digital solutions, they need to be simple to use and offer tangible benefits.

As American Water’s business development staff members were only logging into the CRM solution once or twice a month, the company recognized it needed to improve engagement with the platform.

This was accomplished by establishing best practices for CRM usage and automating key administrative and reporting tasks. For example, external spreadsheets used by business development managers and other employees in the field were tied to unique identifiers and uploaded automatically into the CRM platform.

Now, the business development team is engaging with the solution at least three to four times per week. The company has also seen productivity and efficiency increase over the past two to three years.

3. Unlock real-time reporting to improve decision-making.

The inability to translate data into a usable format can create a roadblock to effective decision-making.

By making greater use of Salesforce’s real-time dashboards and reporting features, American Water’s business development team has improved how it tracks its performance in key areas.

The team is now better equipped to generate actionable insights and meet its reporting obligations to leadership and external stakeholders.

“Having those real-time dashboards which allow our leadership to track how we’re performing, versus our budget or growth goals, has been great. As a publicly traded company, it’s really important for us to have efficient and accurate reports we can share with our board and investor relations team," says Thom Chiomento, VP of Business Development and External Affairs.

 
 

4. Develop internal skills with targeted coaching.

With digital skill shortages a growing issue in many sectors, developing internal capabilities is critical.

American Water’s business development team members were able to access expert coaching sessions and training opportunities on relevant topics as part of the company’s support plan.

These sessions allow team members to build their expertise in core areas such as creating custom reports and summary formulas.

 

More Resources

 
 

Get timely updates and fresh ideas delivered to your inbox.