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Improving C-Mex scores through digital transformation
Good customer experience (CX) for a typical business focuses on delivering exceptional experiences at every brand touchpoint - the true measure of success is in customer acquisition, retention and advocacy.
Of course, when your customer has no choice in their supplier, such as in a regulated industry like water supply, the same metrics can't be applied.
As everyone in the industry knows, Ofwat’s C-Mex ratings attempts to incentivise for a customer-centric approach in the water industry. Without this and the associated financial and reputational benefits, there'd be much less focus on CX.
How can digital transformation help water companies improve their C-Mex score?
Customer interaction within the sector can be irregular at best – an Ofwat survey in 2022 found that 44% of participants stated that they’d never contacted their water company. This means in many cases, there's a miniscule window to make a good impression with customers.
So what are the most impactful CX tactics to ensure customers’ need are being met or exceeded at every possible opportunity?
Striking a balance between human, digital and automation for customer interactions
Customers today expect a 24/7 service and the convenience of reaching out for single issue over multiple channels.
By integrating various communication channels with Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS) platforms, the water industry can bring all customer communications into a central location. This integration enables a seamless flow of information, avoiding customers having to repeat themselves and allowing customer service agents to access all relevant details in one place.
Having a consolidated view of customer interactions allows for efficient resolution of issues, while allowing customer service agents to focus on the human-touch which is crucial to the overall experience - particularly when dealing with customers in vulnerable circumstances or handling complaints.
Providing seamless omni-channel interactions can have a positive reduction in customer call volumes.
Embracing pre-emptive CX with self-service apps
Despite the undeniable influence human interactions can have on our perception of a business, many customers want the freedom to choose how to engage, and to self-service straightforward tasks. An expertly designed self-service portal can put the customer in the driver's seat of their experience.
By providing the autonomy to easily check their water usage, view bills, and find answers to common questions, it's possible to spare the user the hassle of calling customer service at all- simultaneously streamlining operations and providing a more satisfying CX.
Harnessing data for meaningful personalisation and proactive communications
Approximately half of all participants of a recent Ofwat survey said they felt informed about important problems in their area, and informed about service choices that could help them.
Reaching the other half presents a huge opportunity for improving the experience for those customers, and automated data-driven communications could help.
By analysing customer data, water companies can understand preferences and behaviours, allowing them to create personalised communications and services. The insights from data analysis tools could be used to identify potentially vulnerable customers and ensure they’re aware of the priority services and additional support available to them.
It also allows companies to be proactive by identifying unusual consumption levels or leaks, enabling them to address issues promptly and automatically notify customers of incidents in their area.
Our final thoughts on improving customer satisfaction in the water sector
C-Mex is incredibly important in driving customer experience standards for consumers, and we're incredibly proud to play our part in helping Northumbrian Water achieve second place ranking with a commendable rating of 86.
Understanding and embracing feedback is essential to drive customer focused initiatives and safeguard great C-Mex scores, but achieving outperformance payments shouldn't be the end goal for water companies.
Building trust needs to be a priority for all water companies, more so than ever in the light of declining perceptions of water companies in the UK.
Ultimately, satisfied and loyal customers are a prerequisite for customer engagement and education strategies necessary to drive real change in water availability, quality and conservation.
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