Targeted Customer Improvements for Building a Long-Term Partnership
How to Target Improvements to Build Key Customer Partnerships

[/one_third_last] Category: Customer Engagement
Subcategory: Voice of the Customer

Severn Trent Services operates and maintains water and wastewater assets on over 1300 sites for the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Feedback from their Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) division showed we needed to better address the risk of flooding and that we were performing below expectations generally. We introduced a specific flooding plan, contacting over 1200 sites to create an at-risk register, and developed preventative actions to address these. We introduced additional communications, improved our partnership approach and increased customer feedback tools. Staff training and the introduction of a Customer Care Team led to increased accountability and resolution of customer issues.

Our programme has concentrated on optimising flood prevention measures, which has reduced the number of reactive responses and the likelihood of flooding incidents. This gives the MOD confidence that we are tackling this key issue. Proactive maintenance of their sites and assets reduces the risk of asset failure and subsequent disruption to the water service provided. We have seen our Net Promoter Score with the MOD improve by over 30% in 3 months although we still have some way to go. We have also seen a significant improvement in our partnership with the MOD by communicating 1-2-1 with site managers.

Using customer insights we developed a specific business strategy to address performance issues. We introduced weather alerts at flood risk sites, so customers could be better prepared. We significantly improved communication by introducing a new Customer Care Team of experienced staff to take accountability of all calls, calling cards, call-ahead job notifications to keep the customer apprised of progress and regular 1-2-1 meetings with Site Managers. In preparation for future flooding events we have looked for best-practice, innovative technologies, introducing FloodSax and other preventative solutions. We have engaged staff through training and encouraged them to work on service improvement projects.[/one_half_last]

The flooding plan should have been introduced sooner, but we were slow to recognise the scale of the issue for the customer. When we did, we initially focused on the data. We began to achieve impact when we stopped analysing data and concentrated on engaging on a 1-2-1 basis with the customer. We had also made assumptions about the MOD’s expectations which were challenged when we introduced Voice of the Customer feedback, which we should have done sooner. Moving to a proactive maintenance approach uses resources more effectively than responding to incidents when floods occur, as we had done previously.

We developed a focused improvement plan and shared ideas with our partner at all stages. Key to this was communicating regularly and proactively meeting to identify the next hot topic. Small improvements to communications have been achieved on a shoestring budget but had significant impact for the MOD. We have also educated the MOD’s customers on the potential, manageable causes of flooding to help reduce incidents, a great added value exercise. Moving to a preventative approach, including introducing flooding toolkits, proactive maintenance plans and accelerated investment plans, reduces pressure on resources for all parties and significantly improves risk management.[/one_half_last]