View customers as active participants in water sector, says Ross
Ofwat chief executive Cathryn Ross is urging water companies think differently and more radically about how they view customers, saying they should be seen as active participants in the water sector, not passive recipients.
Speaking to water company senior executives at an event in London, Ross said the sector should see customers as participants who can identify issues and opportunities, and help find ways to do things better, such as making improvements to the local environment, saving water or improving customer service.
Ross said: “Water companies made great strides at PR14 in talking directly to more than 250,000 customers. As a result, companies are now more focused on delivering what people need and want. We want to see engagement with customers taken to the next level. How can companies work with customers and use their knowledge, skills and creativity to help find ways to innovate?
“This isn’t some pie-in-the-sky theory, it is established business practice that helps unlock value and build trust. We want to see water companies not only catch up – but begin to lead the way. Doing so can help to deliver great customer service and resilient supply at a price all can afford.”
Speaking alongside the regulator were a number of high-street brands, such as Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and RBS, who have already established ways of putting customers at the heart of designing and delivering services.
To coincide with the event, Ofwat has commissioned and published a report looking at best practice in other sectors and other countries.
Ofwat wants the report and event to help water companies identify the possibilities for them and consider what they need do to bring customers into their thinking as active participants ahead of the business planning stage of PR19.
- Action needed to smooth AMP6 workload, warns Keyline The water industry is again running the risk of damaging 'boom and bust' if words are not matched with action on smoothing... Read More >
- Consultation launched on EA drought guidelines The Environment Agency has launched a consultation on its guidelines for water companies' drought plans, published earlier... Read More >
- South Staffs Water tops Ofwat's customer satisfaction table South Staffordshire Water has topped an annual customer satisfaction table published by industry regulator Ofwat for the... Read More >
- Comment: What could retail competition do for customers? Domestic retail competition could provide an opportunity to look again at how we determine the price of water to the... Read More >
- Comment: Sludge all set for reform The opening of the bioresources market presents water companies with an opportunity to do things differently, but what... Read More >
- Interview: Ben Jeffs, Chief Executive, MOSL “The whole industry has really mobilised around market opening, and the water companies deserve credit for that.” Read More >
- Close-Up: Who will be the big fish in the new water retail market? With a £2.5BN new market for non-domestic water retail to open in England in April, joint ventures, incumbents and new... Read More >
- Water Industry Procurement: could Brexit provide a fresh start? Could Brexit lead to a re-examination of the procurement rules which govern the water industry and other infrastructure... Read More >