Corporate Responsibility

Improving our service.

Last reviewed:
Our customers deserve and expect a reliable and worry-free service that delivers for them 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We’ve been focussing on making great improvements to our customer service, and last year we set the foundations for the next phase of our customer service strategy.

Our customer improvements.

We have created new journey dashboards to measure our performance which mirror the key reasons why customers contact us. We are also becoming much smarter with data that is available to us and turning this into management information, such as performance reports, which in turn gives us insight to make the right changes to improve our services.

Last year we made two significant improvements for customers who may experience a problem with their wastewater services, for instance, sewer flooding or a blockage. The first improvement included new and better management of our work scheduling, which helped resolve more issues first time. The second improvement focused on improving the service we provide to our customers whose issues cannot be resolved first time. This included keeping customers informed of progress through telephone and SMS contact, and changing how our planning teams operate by providing them with greater ownership of a customer’s issue through to resolution. These changes were implemented during the 2017/18 regulatory year.

For customers who experience a water service issue, for instance a visible leak, no water or low pressure, we have launched a similar change programme in which our immediate focus is improving the likelihood of resolving the issue promptly by ensuring work is scheduled to the right people preventing repeat work or duplication of effort. This is complimented by changes to the way in which we keep our customers informed so that customers can expect a consistent service whether they experience an issue with their wastewater or water service.

Last year we conducted a pilot for our moving home journey, which is when customers let us know they’ve moved house. This enabled our front line staff to take more ownership to resolve matters at the point the customer contacts us. Our people have received additional coaching to enable them to have the right conversation with customers so that we set their account up correctly, discuss the best tariff and payment arrangements and identify if a customer is in vulnerable circumstances and would benefit from being on our Priority Service Register.

During 2017/18, we created a new incident management team which can be quickly mobilised at any time during the day or night to respond to the needs of our customers alongside our frontline. This dedicated team helps us to deliver a smarter way of handling major incidents which can cause disruption to our customers. We have introduced a dedicated team of customer representatives who are sent en-route to our customers within one hour of the incident to provide additional support during major events and sensitively handle individual requirements.

We make sure customers are proactively kept up to date during events, such as burst water mains, with quick and proactive updates across our website, social media channels and interactive voice response (IVR) system via our call centre. This has helped reduce the amount of customers needing to contact us for updates via telephone by 50 per cent. This improvement in service was recognised by the industry when the team were shortlisted for the ‘Best Customer Experience’ Award at the UK Customer Satisfaction Awards 2018. We are introducing a new policy for compensating customers for the inconvenience caused from incidents such as flooding and no water. This will be in place by the end of 2018.

Social media service.

We offer customer service on social media 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. We received over 270,000 messages via social media in 2017/18, over 200 per cent increase on the previous year, which included revenue and operational queries, feedback, complaints, media enquiries and more. We have improved our Social Media platform which enables us to better prioritise Twitter and Facebook messages. Our social media team won the Most Effective Customer Experience in Social Media bronze award at the European Contact Centre and Customer Service Awards 2017. You can find out more about our social media service in the case study below: