Meet business water expert Rich Rankin. As the Managing Director of Brightwater, Rich has a passion for providing the best business water service possible and making Brightwater the very best business it can be.
We know you are passionate about your business, but you might not feel quite so passionate about your business water. That’s where Rich and his team come in. A team of talented and skilled people who work hard to bring you the excellent service and competitive pricing on water you deserve.
When you speak to someone at Brightwater, you won’t connect to a nameless and faceless call centre. Instead, you’ll speak direct with one of our (many) experts. Over the coming months, you’ll get a chance to meet the experts – in our new blog series. You’ll get to meet the team – the people behind the Brightwater passion.
As the Brightwater MD, Rich wears many hats! His responsibilities include strategic direction, team growth and development as well as finance, marketing and events organising. Read on to find out more about what makes Rich tick…
Tell us about your career leading up to Brightwater
It was hectic. I worked for years in marketing, then I set up a digital marketing consultancy. I was passionate about finding solutions for business owners. From there, I moved into the water industry as a broker. My business partner and I worked with three providers but we put 98% of our clients through just one – the one that took the least time to prepare estimates, paperwork and data. We didn’t want to leave our customers worrying about what was happening for days.
We recognised there was a strong gap in the market for a more streamlined system, for a more tailored service for business customers. We built Brightwater to fill that need. That was in 2015 and we’ve been growing ever since.
What’s changed in the industry since you started Brightwater?
There’s an increase in competition, but it’s a steady growth. Water providers are regulated and the growth is controlled steadily so there’s no flooding the market. We’re fine with competition, it drives down prices for customers so they get the best tariff rates – and that’s what we’re all about. Making sure the customer has the very best.
Efficiency is another area that’s growing in the industry and it’s something that we improve on. We set Brightwater up because of a need for a clearer, more proactive service and work hard to make sure we offer it.
You mentioned competition – so what sets you apart from your competitors?
Every business wants to deliver good customer service, or they claim to be open and honest. We believe we’ve got the edge because we have embedded our customers in the heart of what we do. We’re not here to make a quick buck. As business water experts, we’ll find the best solution for a customer even when this ends up affecting our profit margins. That’s okay – we’d rather build strong relationships with our customers. Over half of our staff work in the customer service team. We’re here to provide a service and we’re here to provide it to the very highest standard.
At the core of your business, you talk about Brightwater ‘saving you more than money’. What does that mean for your customers?
Other than money, we save our customers time. We have speedy systems and we understand the need for customers to spend minimal time dealing with this stuff. You save time on the phone, time waiting for admin. Our communications are clear and jargon-free so you save time by understanding exactly what you need to know.
We’re also working on initiatives to build on our corporate social responsibilities, we have some ideas for fundraising for water charities and we’re looking at ways to help customers shift their understanding of what they can do to help the environment. So you could say we’re saving the world too, but that might be a little bold!
Is that what you love about your job?
Yes! But more than that I’m passionate about helping people. If I can make things better for them, saving them money and helping them cut through complicated paperwork then I get really excited. For example, recently, I worked with an East Lothian school on their water charges. When they switched to Brightwater they were on a more competitive tariff, but there were a lot of extra or duplicate charges on their account. They were being billed for water both under council tax and from their provider and paying way more. We sorted it all out for them and they’re now waiting for a rather significant rebate!
Besides the primary school, what projects are you most proud to have been part of?
I’m going to focus on Brightwater here. When we started out we set up a few customer and financial milestones, which we’ve now reached after just 3½ years of business. We now have nearly 4,250 premises in Scotland under supply. I’m proud of our team – they are like-minded and passionate about what we do – and they’re driven to deliver on the company’s core values. All of that and I’m really pleased to say that we’ve managed to make decent savings for our customers too.
What part of your job keeps you awake at night?
Everything keeps me awake at night! I wonder about the regulator and what changes might come into the market and how this will affect our customers and the industry as a whole. How we can improve upon what we’re already doing. How we can develop our team for growth, how I can work with individuals to help them shape a fulfilling career at Brightwater. It’s all spinning around my head at night!
What inspires you outside of work?
Work really does inspire me, so it’s hard to pinpoint something else. I enjoy meeting other energetic people, people with positive energy inspire me. I love reading business or self-development books. I’m currently reading the book Atomic Habits by James Clear and encourage any business owner to read it.
As a complete escape, I am obsessed with retro camper vans. I’d love to convert one or two and set up a business around VW beetles, camper vans and weddings. I think that would be a wonderful, positive thing to be part of.
So when you go on holiday do you hire a camper van and head off somewhere?
What’s a holiday? My wife will tell you I don’t take much time off. Yes, she’s fine with it before you ask! Actually, we head to the Scottish Islands mostly. Arran and Mull. I love the relaxed island life. I do need to take my laptop and phone with me though – I’m much less relaxed if I don’t know what’s going on back at the office, so it’s counterproductive to leave it behind!
Spring time is often the time when business owners are inspired to set goals and make plans for the rest of the year. Have you done that?
For Brightwater, we’re looking to focus more on analysis of our customers after they switch to us. We want to shape even better tariffs and solutions around our customer’s needs. So this year it’s about finding the right resource for that so we can add even more value to the customer experience.
Are you thinking of making a switch on your business water provider?
If you’ve been thinking of switching your business water but need some advice and support before making any decision, then now is the perfect time to get in touch with Brightwater. With no pushy sales staff or time-wasting on automated call centre lines, you can pick up the phone and speak directly to someone from the Brightwater customer team. A simple and straightforward way to ask all the questions you need, compare the tariff you’re on now with the one you could switch to with Brightwater and all other advice and support you need before making a decision.
It couldn’t be easier.