Ofwat’s new customer experience benchmark, C-MeX, was launched in April 2020 to galvanise water companies into action when it came to customer experience – with financial incentives or penalties to match.

As a company who believes every customer should receive an unrivalled customer experience, we challenged ourselves to go beyond industry benchmarking to ensure best-in-class customer experiences.


We worked with KPMG Nunwood, using its Six Pillars of experience excellence - an evidence-based method that prioritises actionable results. The six pillars are Personalisation, Integrity, Expectations, Resolution, Time and Effort, and Empathy.


This was no cosmetic, tick-box exercise, but a holistic, root and branch approach to strengthening customer-centricity, finding new ways of working and creating a lasting roadmap for change.


We worked with KPMG to:

  • Create maps of the current service states across three priority scenarios - ‘Pay your bill,’ ‘Manage your water,’ and ‘Priority customers’ – flagging gain and pain points and areas of value and waste.
  • Identify end customer personas, based on qualitative and quantitative insights and extensive customer interviews.
  • Outline service requirements for our future states, drawing on best practice, employee engagement and customer and business insights.


Taking time to engage with customers in end-to-end reviews, to make sure improvements work for them, has been an important element of the process. Digital innovation has also been a cornerstone of our customer experience transformation. We used digital twins (virtual copies of our customer processes and systems to simulate, test, and optimise them without loss to the business) to manipulate customer data in multiple ways to determine customer needs and expectations, including the requirements of vulnerable customers, and our digital channels used these principles to radically enhance and transform our customer service offer.


Our next steps are to adopt the KPMG Nunwood Customer Experience Cloud, which has access to machine learning. This will facilitate a holistic, agile approach to transforming customer insights into better decision making and greater efficiency.


By analysing specific customer touch points, we could understand the journeys customers must take to get the best result. Opening up our processes and systems to scrutiny has achieved some great results.


The project involved everyone from our CEO and leadership team to contact centre employees, operational teams and new recruits.


We’ve now embedded the Six Pillars into our performance management training across the entire company. Training sessions are also part of new starter inductions, focusing on the soft skills and technical know-how required for every customer journey.