Success stories

Water Industry – building a team capable of radically improving performance and service

Our client is the national provider of water and sewerage services to the commercial sector was created as a consequence of deregulation of the water industry in the UK.

They found themselves in a newly created marketplace working with the legacy systems, processes, capabilities and behaviours designed for a non-competitive environment.

This meant they had significant resources being employed to work longer hours to achieve less in terms of both performance and service. This resulted in increased regulatory attention (including possible fines), increased bad debts, process waste, customer service issues and a critically lower right-first-time resolution of customer concerns.

The challenge

Pathfinder was tasked with designing a solution that put the customer’s experience at the centre of all activities while reducing the cost of operation. We had to make the changes happen with a team of more than one hundred people without any discernible impact on “business-as-usual” activities.

What we did

Firstly, we installed new processes which enabled staff and management to observe the customer onboarding and service request journey.  This created the platform for us to collectively agree on what were the critical points of failure and areas to focus our efforts for optimum result.  Next, we designed and implemented processes which brought the focus around to achieving the right outcomes for customers at the first point of interaction.

We saw an opportunity to radically improve ‘Meter to Bill’ processes and set about redesigning the process linking the customer directly to the value chain.

 The outcome

Our work saw the number of first-time failed customer site visits reduced from 64% to 0%, activities caused by poor customer service reduced by 37%, unbilled accounts dropped by 80% and the number of meters that were never read dropped by 60%. Additionally, more than £10m in revenue was achieved through the new Customer Leads’ process.

Going forward

The introduction of new 2017 water legislation in the UK will essentially mean that water users for the first time give businesses, charities and public sector customers in the UK the freedom to switch supplier in 2017.

The primary aim of any deregulation of a State monopoly of a utility has been to increase efficiencies and lower prices by creating competition and customer choice. Consumers would be given the option to switch suppliers, resulting in an increased focus on better customer service, efficiency and competitive pricing. This is an example of how Pathfinder can support our clients to change significant legacy practices to competing in a liberated market.

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