We put our customers first
Customers are at the heart of all we do and this means putting them first. We invest time to listen to our customers. We work hard to design an experience they expect and translate it into our business plans. We put our customers and communities first, aim to provide a service that is value for money, help our customers who struggle to pay their bills and to make a positive difference through volunteering.
We recognise that planned and unplanned work on our networks can cause disruption. In February 2015 we launched ‘Customers and Communities First’, our guide to help our colleagues and one of our supply chain partners deliver a great customer experience every time they carry out planned work. It explains what we need to do and who we need to engage with before work begins, during and after our work is complete. We seek feedback from our customers at the end of every scheme to ensure we successfully learn from experiences, sharing areas for improvement and best practice.
Read our community policy for more information.
Our customers pay the lowest combined water and waste water bills in the UK, and will continue to do so in AMP6. However, our research shows that customers want more than just low bills, they expect us to make a positive difference especially when it comes to our investments and the environment. Operating efficiently, we are able to do both of these things and provide good value for money to customers. In an independent quarterly study of our customer base, 57.5% of our customers consider us good or very good value for money.
We work hard to ensure our bills are affordable, but we understand that some customers may need additional assistance. We can help customers through a review of their account and support through one of our affordability schemes such as metering, Watersure and our new social tariff, the Big Difference Scheme. We launched the Big Difference Scheme in April 2015, which offers between a 10% and 90% reduction to the average bills. In 2015/16, we assisted 24,110 customers. Our target was 35,000, however, in the early part of the year application volumes were lower than expected, due in part to challenges engaging with the customers who need our support. We also believe that the perceived social stigma associated with seeking financial support may be affecting applications. We have new engagement plans in place for 2016/17 and are determined to support more of our customers who need it the most. Severn Trent Trust Fund provides assistance to those in the most financial difficulty.
In February 2016, we launched our programme of activity ‘Love Our Network’, focusing on volunteering, education and network vigilance under the headings of ‘Love to Care’, ‘Love to Share’ and ‘Always Aware’. We have worked with our employees and our newly established employee community panels, to steer our approach to volunteering throughout the business. Following a vote by our employees, we support two charities; continuing our support with WaterAid and a new partnership with Make-A-Wish Foundation. In addition to this, we will support national set piece fundraising events, and local teams will be able to select the causes they wish to raise funds for, volunteer or do team building activities for. All employees have two days paid volunteering leave available to them per annum. We encourage volunteering in support of our two CR ambitions around water efficiency and healthier rivers and ensure that all volunteering activities are conducted in a safe manner.