Serving our customers
Assessing our customer experience performance
We're proud to have the lowest average bills in the country, and we want to make sure our customers get a great service and experience in all that we do. We judge our performance in a number of ways.
Service Incentive Mechanism
We’re disappointed by our Service Incentive Mechanism score for 2018 to 2019.
The hot weather that the country experienced in the summer of 2018 meant that we focussed our resources on protecting supply to customers and supporting thosecustomers who were at risk of, or experiencing, a supply interruption.
This was the right thing to do. However, it meant we had to divert resources from more day-to-day tasks, which impacted on our wider service to our customers. This ledto an increase in the number of complaints we received.
It also indirectly led to an increase in second stage complaints as customers escalated their concerns.
All this resulted in a lower rating in our Service Incentive Mechanism (SIM) score.
Customer Experience Measurement
Our use of technology for the benefit of our customers has been a success.
We have one of the highest self-serve rates in the industry through our digital channels, and we’re continuing to evolve the options to ensure customers can complete their journey without the need to call.
A real improvement has been seen through the use of our virtual leakage technician work, where customers can use video calls with our leakage experts so we can get eyes on the problem instantaneously and improve our diagnosis of the problem.
In 2018 we saw a small improvement in our level of bad debt driven by the initiatives we promoted in previous years. Our approach to reviewing the customer journey, trialling new payment plan initiatives and reviewing our end to end debt strategy has helped more of our customers that are struggling to pay to reduce their debt.
Talking to customers about our plans
32,000 of our customers had a direct say in development of our Asset Management Period 7 business plans, covering 2020 to 2025. A further 1.9 million views were considered in its creation.
Our absolute priority is to improve services for all our customers in areas that matter most to them.
A service for everyone
Water should be accessible for everyone and we’re committed to providing help and support to our customers, in ways that suit their circumstances, through a range of schemes and services.
The lowest bills in the country
We’re proud to have the lowest average bills in the country, and we want to continue to deliver a service that’s affordable for everyone.
For some of our customers, their circumstances can make them more vulnerable if there's a problem with our service and some may struggle to access our service at all.
Help when you need it
Financial support schemes we offer
We have a range of support available for customers who are struggling to pay. This varies from concessionary payment plans where the plan amount can be negotiated and reviewed regularly, to reduced charges for customers through the WaterSure scheme or our social tariff, the Big Difference Scheme.
We’re also able to offer financial assistance and debt advice through the Severn Trent Trust Fund.
Severn Trent Trust fund
Customers who are struggling to pay their bills can receive help and advice from Severn Trent Trust Fund, an independent charity established in 1997.
Since 1997, Severn Trent have donated nearly £60m to the Fund and benefitted over 300,000 customers. The Severn Trent Trust Fund is able to help with water arrears, and other debts too.
Evidence shows that this help makes a long term impact with customers. Nearly 8 out of 10 grant recipients go on to pay their bills successfully.
A report commissioned by Auriga Services, who administer charitable grants for a number of water companies, reveals that many of thosecustomers who have benefitted from the Severn Trent Trust Fund have had their lives transformed with the help of grants, money advice and income maximisation.
The report concluded that the benefit of these grants to customers and society translates to £3 for every £1 spent.
Priority services register
We’re also able to help customers with some medical conditions and other accessibility requirements.
We offer alternative bill formats and emergency bottled water supplies in the event of an incident to nearly 50,000 vulnerable customers through the Priority Services Register.
The Priority Service Register helps us to support customers like Adam, who is on the Priority Services Register due to his Diabetes and dialysis treatment.