Water & Wastewater Treatment

WWT April 2020

Water & Wastewater Treatment Magazine

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Page 19 of 47

In Focus: customer experience ganisation delivers customer experience," says Jessica Collinge, head of customer experience strategy at Yorkshire Water. "Rather than it being assessed as an individual letter or a speci• c service inter- action, the new C-MeX and D-Mex gives us permission to have broader conversa- tions about how we make decisions as an organisation, how we operate and how we're perceived by our customers." Water companies' anticipation of C-MeX and D-MeX has prompted a gradual, but in some cases signi• cant transformation of the methods they em- ploy to engage with customers. The new approaches generally rely on di‚ erent combinations of four main ingredients. They are: investing in technology; reor- ganising resources internally; sourcing fresh customer insight for use in design- ing strategies rather than relying on stale assumptions about what customers think and feel; and eschewing stereotypes. Dropping socio-demographic stereo- types linked to age, income or region has cleared the way for innovative new cus- tomer pro• les. "We have this great way of demonstrating things, where we display blank images of two guys' pro• les. If you look at the data, it describes two men, both in their late sixties, both millionaires and both environmentally-minded. We unveil their faces to show Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne. Now, would you talk to those two characters using the same messaging? De• nitely not!," says Andy Clowes, head of customer insight and strategy at South East Water. The exercise was designed to emphasise the strengths of the company's new engagement approach of grouping customers into segments by attitude. The largest group, at 23 per cent, is "mindful optimists", described as "less a" uent, with com- munity versus corporate focus". While the others comprise "global advocates", "just me and mine", "careful neighbours", "busy jugglers", and "living for today" (see graphic). Similarly, at Yorkshire Water, Collinge says it pays to ignore stereotypes about younger customers favouring digital channels. "We do • nd that di‚ erent age groups prefer particular channels, but it's not always the case. We have to be very careful not to make sweeping statements. You think an age group likes digital, then as soon as they have an operational event they jump to the 'phone," she says. "It's more to do with the issue than the per- son's age. Customers want to speak to a human, and we see heavy dependency on the 'phone, when there's an operational issue. They're more comfortable with digital journeys for transactional contacts, such as making a payment or changing address," Collinge adds. Customer service channels The new C-MeX and D-Mex scoring regime incentivises water companies to provide at least • ve customer services chan- nels of which three must be digital. The industry has invested in developing such platforms, however Clowes puts it neatly when he says: "Most of the incoming con- tact methods are just hygiene factors." That said, speci• c projects to develop service capabilities, particularly through company websites, have yielded positive results. "We put a lot of functionality on our website for the visual and hearing impaired and we installed a translation service," says Collinge. The language functionality lets customers select their preferred tongue, with Polish a favourite in Yorkshire. "It allows us to capture what languages are chosen, by how many peo- ple and which pages they're looking at. It has given us deeper understanding of the challenges customers face when trying to interact with us," she says. Caption Caption 20 | APRIL 2020 | WWT | www.wwtonline.co.uk South East Water has developed a new method of profi ling customers that groups them into segments by attitude rather than the traditional socio-demographics of age, income and region. South East Water's new customer profi ling technique would ignore socio-demographic similarities to employ very diff erent strategies when engaging with divergent characters such as Prince Charles and Ozzy Osbourne.

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