Our strategies and plans

Understanding what’s really important to customers

Why are we talking to customers?

The first stage of our journey to developing our business plans for 2020 – 2025 was to fully understand the important areas our customers want us to focus on now and in the future. An important part of this also involved looking back to past studies to see how our customers’ views have changed over time.

What customers told us

undefinedIf you think these areas cover what you expect us to be focusing on, please have your say.

How are we using the feedback?

The feedback proved vital in helping us build our business plan for 2020-2025 around the areas that customers said mattered most to them. It also helped to shape the rest of the engagement we have carried out with customers and other stakeholders since June 2017. For example, we used this feedback to:

  • help select the areas where we asked then asked over 3,000 customers how much they wanted us to invest to make service improvements;
  • help define our customer promises. These are the areas where customers can hold our service performance to account during 2020-2025; and
  • to further engage with customers to find out how they want us to better communicate with them. Customers consistently said in our engagement that we were a “hidden brand” and needed to offer a more proactive, innovative service. Importantly though, we are not waiting until 2020 to start reacting to what our customers are telling us.
We have used the feedback to support our decisions to launch a number of new services in 2018. These include our:
  • primary schools outreach education programme to encourage pupils to use water responsibly; and
  • Alexa, Voice Activated Assistant, service which gives customers a new way to contact us and manage their account. This service is also designed with the needs of customers who have a visual impairment in mind.

Who we spoke to?

We invited a wide range of customers to four focus groups during May and June 2017. These customers represented the diversity of the region we serve. At the 2 hour groups, they gave us their detailed views on a wide range of areas. This allowed us to better understand what was important to them and – crucially – why this was the case. It also helped us to learn more about their experiences of the service we offer.


Some of our customers also gave as feedback in a way that best suited them, such as those experiencing hardship. This gave us the opportunity to really explore which areas they wanted us to focus on and why these were important to them.


Who carried out the study?

We used the independent research agency Accent Research to carry out the research. This followed a thorough selection process, which helped us make sure the feedback is totally independent and unbiased. Our independent customer panel also reviewed and challenged how we approached this project. This helped us be sure that we asked the right questions to customers and that we correctly interpreted what they said in the final report.