We continue to deliver ever-improving customer service against a backdrop of rising customer expectations. This has allowed us to maintain a leading position in our industry, increasing our score on the Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM), used by Ofwat to compare water companies' customer service.
Our SIM score of 86 puts us in the top three nationally, a major achievement in a very competitive year. This success was helped by a very strong performance against SIM's quantitative measure, where we achieved an increase of 18 per cent on an already industry-leading score. This year, improvements have included:
As well as investment in people and systems, we also promote a culture where everyone understands their role in providing excellent customer service. Our people are encouraged and empowered to take ownership of customer issues and to do the right thing for them, knowing they will be supported.
This approach has also allowed us to improve our score on the Institute of Customer Service's annual Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI), which increased from 72.3 to 75.4. We are determined to keep improving until we are ranked in the upper quartile within the utility sector. We are on track, with a January 2017 score of 77.
Our own, internal survey of customer satisfaction gathered opinions from more than 100,000 people who contacted us with an account query. More than 95 per cent said they were satisfied or better with the service they received.
Customer Service Representative Rebecca Lunnon had a newborn calf named after her by a grateful customer after she helped arrange an emergency water connection for his herd of cows.
Richard Bunning was due to have a water connection installed on his farm at the end of January, but because the work would have involved a road closure, the county council needed three months' notice.
That left Richard delivering water to his 50 cows by pulling a 1,000-litre container on his tractor. The three-mile journey was taking three hours a day.
Rebecca worked with the Scheduling Team to put forward the case for an emergency water connection on animal welfare grounds and permission was granted the following week.