Customer needs and expectations of CCW when making a complaint

We want to ensure that every customer we deal with experiences a smooth passage to resolving their complaint against their water company when they turn to us for help. At the start of 2019/20 we decided to review our customer journey to see whether we were achieving that ambition and if anything could be improved.

Our consumer relations team commissioned Impact to delve into the minds, needs and experiences of customers to help us gain a better understanding of what it was they needed and expected from CCW.

Impact conducted a five-stage study which incorporated extensive analysis of existing customer service data and in-depth qualitative interviews with 75 household and non-household customers – including those in a range of vulnerable circumstances.

What the report found

The report has revealed that the things we thought we were doing well – such as setting out clear expectations around customer  contact and frequency of updates – were not matching  some customers’ expectations.

It also showed that domestic and non-household customers don’t have vastly different expectations. More often what really shapes people’s expectations of our service is the complexity of the complaint and how we handle it. Within the complex and more straightforward groups of complaints, Impact identified five ‘journey personas’ which customers have taken in the past – two for ‘more complex’ cases and three for ‘less complex’ cases. These different personas had differing needs around the level of seniority their CCW caseworker required to resolve the case, the time it continued for, and the type of outcome that made for a satisfactory conclusion. We must look to address these nuances to ensure every customer receives a service tailored to meet their particular needs and expectations.

What we’ll do next

We’re already using this information to renew our customer experience in handling complaints; better understanding the level of detail and reassurance that customers in differing situations need, the speed they expect it at and delivered through the channel of communications they find most useful.

We have started implementing the changes through a staged approach as recommended by Impact. The first step involves looking at the ‘hygiene’ measures – the factors for satisfaction that apply to all customers. We’ll then move on to separating cases into complex and less complex complaint groups, making sure that we meet the differing needs of these customers.

Finally, we’ll implement the nuanced customer journeys that would lead to the highest customer satisfaction among the complex and more straightforward complaint groups.

We’ll be rolling out these changes over the coming months and constantly monitoring customer satisfaction to see if the action we’re taking is effective in improving how people feel about our service.