Half of UK water customers feel like ‘just another number’

Posted: Tuesday 17th September 2019

Over half (51%) of the UK’s water customers feel that their supplier treats them as ‘just another number’, according to new research.

The figures were revealed in The Secrets of Better Billing, a study commissioned by utility billing software business Echo Managed Services, creator of Aptumo and RapidXtra. 1,000 UK customers were surveyed with regard to their water bills, their views of the sector and their relationship with their supplier.

Just 20% of billpayers said that they felt their supplier understood their needs, and a mere 12% said they felt actively engaged with their water supplier.

When it comes to billing practices, 18% of customers said they were not overly concerned about what their supplier does outside of billing them properly. However, this leaves more than four out of five people seeking a more personal and engaging relationship with their supplier – a significant figure.

Given Ofwat’s future strategy states that ‘companies should have customers at their heart’, calls for an inclusive and engaging approach and suggests that decision-making should be responsive to customers’ changing priorities and expectations, it appears that many water suppliers have a great opportunity for further improvement.

Andy Mack, software services director at Echo Managed Services, commented:

“The fact that more than half of consumers feel that they are being treated anonymously and facelessly by their water supplier highlights both a level of apathy and frustration with the sector as a whole as well a real opportunity to make positive steps in terms of customer engagement.

“In today’s digital era, innovative software can help water companies to deepen their understanding of customers’ motivations and expectations, and artificial intelligence (AI) can help suppliers to intelligently tailor their services to meet customer needs. The onus is on suppliers to be proactive, responsive to Ofwat’s recommendations and more focused on helping their customers feel more cared-for and engaged.”

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