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Severn Trent customers offered video calling service to report leaks

Severn Trent is now offering a video calling service that allows its customers to speak 'face-to-face' with an engineer when they report a leak.

The company has rolled out the new video calling service across its region, with the system allowing customers to report leaks using their smartphones and to interact directly with a virtual field team of engineers through video.

The service, which is part of a programme of work that Severn Trent is undertaking to help reduce leakage, allows engineers to assess the leak at the first point of contact and to raise the correct type of work that will be required to fix it, which will cut response time as there is no need for an initial site visit.

Rob Ryder, technology and data lab manager at Severn Trent, said: “Nearly everyone now has access to a smartphone, so it’s only right we take advantage of any technology that offers us the chance to improve the way we interact with our customers.

“Sometimes explaining a water leak in detail can be tricky but, by using the video call service, our virtual field team can see the leak right away, assess it and get a job raised straight away which allows us to fix it even more quickly.”

As part of the initial trial, Severn Trent’s virtual team have been able to review three times as many leaks compared to engineers who would have had to travel to each leak location, freeing up more time for field workers to focus on getting the leak fixed straight away.

The company says that, since launching the service in September, more than 50 per cent of its customers reporting leaks are choosing to use the video call option and that the average time to fix a leak reported through video call is now half the usual timeframe.

“We’re always looking at new, innovative ways to reduce leakage,” Ryder said. “Video calling not only allows us to fix leaks more quickly, it also means we’re improving the service customers receive.”

The project has been delivered by Severn Trent’s in-house Tech and Data Lab team, which has been created to think more like a ‘start-up’ when it comes to solving some of the challenges the company faces.

The team, along with support from Fluxx as part of the Atkins Digital Incubator, test new propositions using rapid, small-scale experiments where ideas are validated and scaled in a matter of weeks.

The team are now exploring how video calling can be used across a range of other services for the company.

The Severn Trent Virtual Field Team are available to take video calls for leaks between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday.

Northumbrian Water Group successfully launched its Utileyes app, which operates on similar principles, last year.

Read our WWT Explains report on Smart Metering and Leakage here

Author: Robin Hackett, editor, WWT
Topic: Innovation , Leaks & bursts
Tags: leaks , Severn Trent Water , Innovation , leakage


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