Great customer service and engagement

The historic monopoly status of water companies limited competitive motivations to provide excellent customer service. While the introduction of SIM (service incentive mechanism) in 2010 was a catalyst for change, the introduction of retail competition and the emphasis on customer engagement from Ofwat (including the evolution of customer satisfaction incentives), means that companies will be looking to engage meaningfully with customers to understand what they value, as well as delivering great service day-to-day.

Maintaining service and managing contacts across multiple channels are underpinned by getting the basics right: keeping customers informed, making clear commitments and sticking to them are fundamentals that drive customer satisfaction across all steps in the service they receive.

Building on PR14, the emphasis on customer engagement is increasing ahead of PR19. We believe this can be split into two parts: How to get customers engaged to start with, and how to understand what they value. Getting people engaged has historically been a challenge for a utility company. Understanding triggers of behavioural change are important, building these into the nudges that reveal customers’ values. In addition to research techniques, integration of day-to-day feedback will be key, cross-referencing sources and events with channels including complaints and queries.

Changing customer expectations are shaped by their life as consumers across all sectors, with high expectations of real-time access to information and contact across multiple channels and strategies and approaches are evolving to respond these increased customer expectations.

Our work with companies centres on performance improvement and delivery, optimising customer contact and fulfilment processes including billing, debt management and operational response. We help our clients understand customer values and priorities, including how to engage effectively with different customer segments to create positive customer experiences.

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