Floor to our merchants: Acquedotto del Fiora

Luca Ferraioli FIORA
Luca Ferraioli
Commercial service/Collection and Credit Specialist
Acquedotto del Fiora
Acquedotto del Fiora: not just a water service provider, but a veritable institution for the regions it serves.
How can we introduce your company to those who are not familiar with it?

Acquedotto del Fiora (AdF) is the water provider serving 55 municipalities in the territories of Grosseto and Siena (Italy). Today, AdF is the biggest water company in Tuscany, where it covers one third of the whole region, and is among the biggest providers in central Italy as well as at national level.

Our company is an integral part of the history of an extraordinary region covering the areas from Chianti to Maremma. By fostering dialogue, raising awareness about the precious and essential role of water, and promoting responsible water usage, AdF has always invested to support local communities. This is why we are not merely perceived as a utility company by the people we serve, but rather as a veritable local institution. I will share a few numbers to give you a better idea of our services’ reach.

AdF services cover an area of about 8 thousand square kilometers, providing water to some 400 thousand residents with a density of about 52 inhabitants per square kilometer, with users increasing due to income tourism during the summer months. Our water distribution network, including aqueduct and sewerage, is almost 10 thousand kilometers big, equivalent to the distance between Florence and Beijing. Overall, nearly 3 thousand plants are managed. Investments per inhabitant have reached 135 euros per year: an average which is closer to Northern European countries figures and significantly higher than the Italian average amounting to around 50 euros.

We are aware of the uniqueness of the region we operate in and of its high environmental value. Therefore, we are strongly committed to supporting the communities we serve and their environment.

AdF has prioritized innovation to continuously improve customer experience. How important is payments digitization in your business?

The digitization of business processes plays a central role at AdF. Investing in digital and innovative channels, by the way, allowed us to be able to face the new challenges when the pandemic broke out and mobility was severely restricted.

Regarding payment channels, we always try to provide customers with methods that offer ease of use, immediacy and reduced costs for the end user. Moreover, we have activated additional services in combination with digital payments, such as real-time certificates of payment in order to minimize customer disputes due to incorrect collection information or reminders.

What prompted you to expand your payment options and integrate MyBank?

At AdF, customer satisfaction is our core objective, along with the quality and protection of water resources and the environment. Offering diversified payment options including digital and less costly solutions, such as MyBank, has resulted in positive customer feedback and increased levels of satisfaction.

However, due to a less digitally savvy customer segment, we still see a percentage of traditional bank transfer “aficionados”. For these transactions, bank statement reconciliation is completely manual, thus generating lengthy and inefficient processes.

MyBank, on the other hand, is a major game changer for us as it greatly improves a critical phase of the collection process, without changing customers’ payment habits. MyBank is an absolutely convenient solution for both our customers and our company, which is why we are continuing to promote it, especially among those users who tend to opt for traditional bank transfers.

Immediate certainty of payment collection and 100% automatic reconciliation are the features of MyBank mostly appreciated by businesses.
Are these aspects also relevant for you at AdF?

Yes, absolutely. Payment collection and credit recovery processes must be supported by immediate payment systems with error rates that are close to zero, thus enabling operators to work on certain and due receivables. Therefore, with MyBank, reconciliation processes have been optimized thanks to the provided 100% automatization.

On the other hand, what features of MyBank drive AdF’s customers to choose this method to pay their bills?

Our greatest effort here is to make customers aware that they do not need to change their payment habits, but simply move to a more advanced version of the bank transfer, while keeping the same operational experience.

The fact that sensitive data, such as credit card information, do not have to be entered and shared online, has even pushed once digitally resistant customers to use digital solutions, such as MyBank. We see that customers are particularly satisfied with this payment method and have the intention to continue using it.

In the utilities sector, customer trust is also built at the payment touchpoint.
What factors are particularly crucial here today?

In the era of cyber wars, personal data protection takes center stage. When customers are not required to enter any sensitive data online to make a payment, even the most cautious ones are certainly encouraged to embrace digital solutions through their devices: PCs, tablets, smartphones.

As a company, AdF has always promoted a people-first approach and the enhancement of all resources that go through the digitization of payment processes, also resulting in a greater environmental sustainability.

At AdF, no point of contact with the customer is overlooked: among the digital touchpoints, Flùvia has recently been added. What is it all about?

Created as a gift for the AdF community, Flùvia, better known as Flù, is a chatbot that uses artificial intelligence in a responsible way to help our customers find information on the fiora.it website.

Recently, the service has further evolved thanks to the advanced technology of augmented reality and gamification: Flù has become a tool available to the entire community to learn about the AdF “universe”. Its development is part of our ongoing strategy that sees digitization and innovation as key pillars of AdF.

Sustainability is AdF’s guiding star, to the point that its circular economy was recently the topic of a graduation thesis…

Working for a region’s sustainable development involves taking actions able to respond to today’s needs by combining environmental protection, social equity and economic vitality, to contribute to the creation of a thriving and resilient community.

AdF’s circular economy protocol combines most of these aspects and we are very proud of the interest aroused within the university community, where our approach even became the topic of a graduation thesis.

27 Mar 2024



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