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Severn Trent marks National Customer Service Week by showcasing work it carries out with its most vulnerable customers

4th October 2016

Severn Trent, which supplies water and waste water services to eight million people across the Midlands and mid-Wales, is marking National Customer Service Week, which runs all this week, by sharing details of some of the work it undertakes to help its most sensitive customers.

The company, which is headquartered in Coventry, is taking a roadshow round some of its customer-facing sites to help colleagues understand better some of the challenges that its customers can face. The timing is particularly good as, last week, the team was named as the Best Vulnerable Customer Support team at the Utilities & Telecoms Conference 2016.

Louise Moir, Customer Care Manager at Severn Trent, said: “When you talk about vulnerable customers everyone tends to have a fixed idea in their mind as to what that covers – elderly people, carers or people with serious illness.

“But we’re encouraging everyone at Severn Trent who comes into contact with customers to think more widely than that. For us, it’s all about being sensitive to events that may happen in a customer’s life and offering extra help when they need it that is both relevant and responsible.

“So, for us, a sensitive customer could be someone who’s having difficulty paying their bill because they’ve just lost their job, or they could have a close relative in hospital and thinking about their water is the furthest thing from their mind, or they’ve just moved from overseas and simply don’t know how to get their water turned on.

The company has now created a specialist Care and Assistance Team who case manage customers in vulnerable circumstances. The team has also launched a web app to make it easier than ever for customers to register for alternative supplies during an incident, and a central Priority Services Register has been developed to ensure details are easily accessible during difficult times.

Front line teams have also been working with groups such as the Samaritans, Mind, Age UK, Citizens Advice and Auriga Services to change the way that Severn Trent deals with its most vulnerable customers.

Further examples of practical help that Severn Trent has been able to give to customers includes:

•    More than 22,000 customers helped through our Big Difference Scheme¹, with discounts on charges ranging between 10% and 90% depending on the customer’s situation;

•    More than 12,000 customers helped through our WaterSure² scheme, which caps charges for high consumption customers;

•    Nearly 1,000 face-to-face customer assessments since April; and

•    More than 400 water meters installed after proactively contacting customers who would benefit from the service.

“We’re fundamentally changing the way that we look at customer service,” said Louise.

“And that means taking best practice from other companies, learning from the experts and absolutely embedding the fact in all that we do that our customers come first.”

 

¹ = For more information about the Big Difference Scheme go to https://www.stwater.co.uk/my-account/about-your-account-and-bill/trouble-paying-your-bill/big-difference-scheme/

² = For more information about WaterSure go to https://www.stwater.co.uk/my-account/about-your-account-and-bill/trouble-paying-your-bill/our-watersure-scheme/

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