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Yorkshire Water top for customer service

Yorkshire Water offers the best customer service of any utility company in the UK, according to the latest report by the Institute of Customer Service (ICS).

The institute’s UK Customer Satisfaction Index places Yorkshire Water ahead of 16 other major water and energy companies from around the country for its commitment to high levels of customer service.

And the news is a reflection of the work which has been done by Yorkshire Water over the past year, leading to the company rising from fifth place among utility companies to top of the table.

Richard Flint, Yorkshire Water CEO, said: “The latest report from the Institute of Customer Service is fantastic recognition of all the hard work we’ve put into offering our customers the best experience possible.

“Nonetheless, we’re committed to improving our customer service even further. We’ll be continuing to find the things we can improve on to offer our five million domestic and business customers an even better service.”

Among the measures introduced by Yorkshire Water are:

- Customer in the room – Yorkshire Water customers that have had a bad experience with the company are invited to a session where they can explain the effect it had to everyone involved so that lessons can be learned.

- Customer promise – Yorkshire Water now has a customer promise which is embedded into the culture of the company for all of its colleagues to buy into.

- Customer voice – Customers are asked to rate their experience out of 5 and those scores are directly fed back to the colleague involved.

- Technology – The latest technology is always being borne in mind when dealing with customers. One example is the now widespread use of proactively texting customers affected by planned work or incidents.

The ICS’s Customer Satisfaction Index gives each company a customer service score based on surveys of over 10,000 customers across the country. The index looks at companies’ commitment to great service throughout the organisation, the processes they have in place and whether they approach people with customer service in mind.

As well as coming out top in the latest customer satisfaction index for the utility sector, Yorkshire Water has also been nominated for two awards at the national ICS awards in March.

CASE STUDY

One example of Yorkshire Water’s commitment to great customer service can be seen in the company’s recent introduction of Google Translate for members of its Water Quality team.

The application allows users to instantly translate any sentence from English into more than 80 different languages and the company is already noticing an improvement in its customer service as a result.

Tony Woodhead, a water quality sampling officer for the company, began using the technology after running into issues during some of his customer visits, which are done right across the region.

Tony said: “As part of our routine testing, we visit a number of customers each day to check their water quality and make sure everything is running as we’d expect it to.

“This involves selecting properties at random and visiting some of our customers a bit out of the blue. I was having some issues with those that didn’t speak particularly good English and I began to wonder how I could make things easier for them.

“That’s when I started using Google Translate as an option. I’ve already used it to explain my visit to customers in 18 different languages and it’s been so successful that there’s now more than 30 of my colleagues doing the same thing.”

Tony’s colleagues in the Water Quality team now have the software on their phones for the visits and the scheme is getting fantastic feedback from customers.

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