Andy Hughes, Chief Executive of Water Plus, said: "Complaints earlier in 2018 were much higher than any of us would have liked and, unfortunately, we saw a short-term increase due to the work we completed on a considerable number of open complaints. We’ve been working closely with the Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) providing them with regular updates on our plans and the significant progress we’ve made.
“Earlier this year, we made a substantial investment in our teams and processes and our huge efforts mean we’ve seen a 40% reduction in our incoming complaints in the last three months. Everyone is aware of the data and process challenges in the market, and this has generated complaints but also meant that we required more resources to deal with them. In addition to the progress we’re seeing with the reduction in complaints, we are also seeing improvements in our customer satisfaction scores.
“The way we record our complaints has been assured by an independent external company so we know we’re recording them accurately and we can see exactly what complaints we have. This assurance gives us data that can be trusted, helps us look at causes and take steps to prevent complaints in the future. We are also pushing for all retailers to do the same so that everyone is reporting on an equal basis, building customer confidence and trust across the sector.
“We know that more than 60% of CCWater cases are wholesaler-related, but we have close relationships with wholesalers and good plans in place to improve this area and, ultimately, reduce complaints further. We continue our efforts working with wholesalers, the market operator MOSL, Ofwat, customers and other market participants, to reduce any delays, continue to improve the data in the market and reduce friction points, particularly ones which impact on the experience of customers.”
In response to the challenges and changes in the market, we increased investment in our systems, processes and people earlier this year (2018), significantly increasing the number of people in our call centre, to reduce any delays for customers and enhance the services for our new and existing customers.
We have also been raising awareness with our customers around areas including their responsibilities for arranging repairs for leaks on private pipes at business sites and providing more information to help with understanding their bills.
There is still a lot of work to do for all participants to make the market more effective for customers but we continue our efforts working with wholesalers, customers and other market participants to reduce any delays.