Why are we talking to our customers?
Our strategies and plans
Our plans for the future focus on outcomes. These are the promises we’ve made to our customers on the services they want us to deliver.
Between March and April 2018 we shared our proposed promises for the period 2020-2025 with customers – these are the commitments we plan to make to improve the service we offer. The promises themselves were developed from the feedback received from more than 18,000 customers over the previous year, but we wanted to make sure they covered all the important areas and that they were clear and made sense. We also wanted customers to help us set a number of the performance targets for our promises that they wanted us to achieve by 2025 - this way we can be sure our plans meet their expectations.
What customers told us
Overall, our customers said they supported the promises and commitments we’ve made for the period 2020-2025. In summary, customers told us that:
- Above all, we must make sure that we always provide our customers with clean, high-quality and reliable water supplies, and that our service offers great value for money when they look at their bill
- We need to do more than ever before to reduce leakage from our network of pipes and to give customers an easy way of reporting leaks so the ones at the surface are fixed quicker
- For the promises: we’ve made to improve the communities and protect the environment in the regions we serve, that we need to measure the actual impact we’re having on our customers’ lives
- We need to go further to develop a plan to communicate how we’re going to reduce the amount of carbon we produce as a business to do our bit in the battle against climate change
- They want bills that are affordable and that don’t move up and down a lot each year. They were very clear about wanting certainty to help them manage their finances, whether at home or when running their business.
We also found that more than 80% of our customers supported the need for a multi-million-pound investment to upgrade our two water treatment works in our South Staffs region – and that they were prepared to fund the cost for us to carry out the work between 2020 and 2030. Customers also told us clearly that they expected us to compensate them if we didn’t deliver all the planned works on time.
We’re committed to always listening to our customers. So, this is your chance to have your say and tell us which promises are most important to you. This is about making water count – and there’s never been a more important time to help shape the future of your water service.
How we’re using the feedback
We have used all the feedback from customers to finalise our customer promises for the period 2020 to 2025. You can read more about the 28 promises we are making in our business plan.
Who we spoke to
We invited 28 South Staffs Water household customers, non-bill payers and small business owners to an all-day event in March 2018. Here, we used a series of fun activities to take them through each of our customer promises. This was so that we could understand their views and also how they wanted us to manage their bills between 2020 and 2025.
Specifically, we asked for their feedback on the areas that were most important to them. We also asked if they supported plans for a multi-million-pound investment to upgrade our two water treatment works in our South Staffs region.
During April, we asked customers to complete an interactive online survey, enabling them to give us feedback on the same issues discussed with customers at the all-day event. A total of 561 customers took part in this:
- 479 household customers across a range of backgrounds and ages
- 80 household customers facing difficult circumstances reached face-to-face
- 12 customers working for small and medium-sized businesses.
This response gave us the confidence that we’d spoken to a wide range of different customers to understand where they wanted us to focus our efforts.
Who carried out the study?
After a thorough selection process, we chose the independent research agency, Explain Research, to carry out this study. This is so that the feedback we receive is totally independent and unbiased.
The independent customer panel also reviewed and challenged how we approached this work. This was so we could be sure we asked customers the right questions and that we correctly interpreted what they said.