Strategic Response 12

Leading edge customer service

Changing customer expectations, the digital revolution and demographic and lifestyle change are all leading Welsh
Water to further develop our customer service culture. We will harness technological change to provide a
personalised service for customers through their preferred contact channel.
SR12 - Leading edge customer service with Kit Wilson

This strategic response includes:

Welsh Water’s vision is to “earn the trust of
customers every day” and we believe that it
will be essential to keep up with customers’
rapidly growing expectations for service and
value for money. Given the very rapid pace of
technological change, we will need to
demonstrate great flexibility in how we
respond to this challenge and opportunity in
the longer term, drawing on ‘best practice’
from all sectors of the economy. To achieve
this requires embracing a customer-led
approach by:
• Continuing to consult customers on the
delivery of investment projects;
• Coaching and regularly assessing and
developing all customer-facing teams to
enhance our customers’ experience;
• Becoming a customer-centric culture that
delivers a consistent, sector-leading and
personalised service at every interaction,
across a widening range of technological
and physical platforms;
• Becoming a joined-up, integrated
business where everyone is focused on
customer service;
• Listening and reacting to customers’
views and priorities both on a day-to-day
basis and in terms of longer term
planning. For example, through the use of
online customer communities to test and
support our plans;
• Improving the use of data analytics,
artificial intelligence, customer insight and
engagement to better target and
personalise our customer services;
• Realise a significant reduction in response
times and the time taken to resolve
issues;
• Ensuring the company is recognised by
customers, stakeholders and regulators
for the significant positive contribution it
makes to our communities; and
• Ensuring that we use data and implement
appropriate segmentation to fully meet the
diverse needs of business customers.
Welsh Water will:
• Give customers a strong voice in day-today
and long-term business planning by
using innovative engagement tools and
communities to inform our decisions,
whilst taking full advantage of open data
and big data analytics;
• Provide a personalised service for
customers through their preferred
communication channel, and in the
language of their choice.
• Ensure our business customers are given
access to usage data, demand
management support and flexible billing in
a manner tailored to their business needs;
• Develop a mature and integrated
customer data, research and engagement
function that is central to the company’s
decision-making and business planning
processes;
• Embrace artificial intelligence to improve
the efficiency of the service and use
predictive analytics to identify potential
service failures before any impact on
customers;
• Use new smart technology to give
customers greater control over the
services they receive and increase the
transparency of the cost to them (for
example, building on the smart metering
programme in the energy sector); and
• Ensure that customers will automatically
be placed on the lowest tariff for their
personal circumstance, helping to keep
bills affordable for all. This will require
appropriate access to government data.

Research and Innovation

Welsh Water will do further research into:
• Develop emerging customer contact
technology systems in order to meet
customer expectations, improve service
and reduce cost;
• Automation and use of artificial
intelligence to improve the accuracy and
consistency of the service it provides
customers (for example, the potential
future use of chatbots);
• Open data and big data analytics to tailor
our approach to customer engagement,
based on their individual needs and
aspirations;
• Identifying innovative communication and
co-creation channels (for example,
gamification) to ensure customers’ views
are fully reflected in decision making and
business planning;
• Using emerging smart technologies (for
example, 360º cameras and virtual and
augmented reality) to respond and check
customer issues on first contact before a
physical visit;
• The link between employee engagement
and customer service to better understand
the impact of the company culture and
management on the service it provides;
• The development of automated,
instantaneous translation capabilities; and
• Using behavioural economics to inform
our behavioural change campaigns such
Let’s Stop the Block and demand
management.
We will undertake this research in
collaboration with government departments
and other utilities to share essential data that
allows us to tailor our services for vulnerable
customers.

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