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Portsmouth Water tops customer satisfaction list

Portsmouth Water has, for the second year in a row, come out on top for handling customer queries and resolving issues.

The water-only company achieved a score of 4.57 out of five for customer satisfaction, in Ofwat’s 2015/16 service incentive mechanism (SIM) survey report.

Wessex Water was ranked second with a score of 4.52, and Bournemouth Water came third with 4.46. Meanwhile, at the other end of the scale, Southern Water scored the lowest at 3.97, and Thames came second-from-last with a score of 4.10.

Ofwat said the latest results show a “positive trend”, with average customer satisfaction rising to 4.33 compared with 4.24 the previous year.

However, customers said better communication and a quicker response from water companies were the “key issues” that would make them even more satisfied.

The report concluded: “Comparing the SIM results with the 2014/15 pilot, it is clear that there has been a significant improvement in handling of customer queries over the last 18 months; much of that improvement has occurred in the last two SIM waves.”

Ofwat introduced the SIM in 2010 as a way of encouraging water companies to improve their customer service.

An industry-wide consultation on modifications to the original measure took place between October 2013 and January 2014. The main changes to come out of this were: a shorter more focussed questionnaire; excluding non-households; surveying both resolved and unresolved contacts; and no notice given for the survey.

Combined data for 2015/16 to 2018/19 will be used to support Ofwat’s decisions on financial incentives in 2019.

A version of this story first appeared on Utility Week.

Author: Lois Vallely,
Topic: Policy & Regulation
Tags: water companies , ofwat , customer service , Service Incentive mechanism

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