The EFC at UNC worked with Abt Environmental Research on a Water Research Foundation funded study entitled “Customer Assistance Programs for Multi-Family Residential and other Hard to Reach Customers.” The primary objective of this project was to provide water utilities with pragmatic options, evaluation criteria, and lessons learned, and guidance for customer assistance programs targeting hard to reach customers. The intent was to help water providers identify and assess their options for reaching these customers directly, and/or indirectly through other channels and programs. The objective was also to better enable utilities to establish a business process for effectively implementing, monitoring the effectiveness of, and continually improving their assistance programs aimed at hard to reach customers. A secondary objective is to extend the insights gleaned on customer assistance program to enhance other utility communication and outreach activities that pertain to hard to reach members of the community.
The research provides a clear business process and a set of communication strategies that will support effective provision of targeted assistance for these customers, and the final report on the research can be found here.