It is essential we create a relationship with our customers and that they trust us. We put our customers at the heart of what we do and our aim is to give all customers an unrivalled customer experience. Our business plan and unique customer experience strategy was co-created with our customers to engage with them in innovative and meaningful ways.
Throughout the year there are opportunities where we can track how our customers are feeling about their service and how they view our brand so we can continue to make improvements. In a world where other water companies are raising their game too, this insight is really valuable.
In the 2019 Customer Service UK Customer Satisfaction Index (UKCSI) Overall we moved up to 2nd place and saw the biggest increase in the utility sector moving from 15th place. We hit the top spot in 1st place for Customer Ethos with the biggest increase in our sector with a score of 79.2 with the all sector average at 76.6 (down 0.9) and utility average was 71.2 (down 1.9). We were also pleased to see an increase in our Emotional Connection score moving from 12th place to 2nd place with a score of 78.43 (up 3.7). The all sector average decreased to 76.1 and the utility average decreased by 1.7 to 69.7.
We believe, and our customers tell us, that improving our customers’ ability to afford our services is one of the most important ways we can help them. Social tariffs, which offer discounts for customers who are genuinely struggling to pay, certainly have a major role to play. But this should not be a static, one-shot attempt at improving comparative affordability. By giving customers more control of their bill, improving water and energy efficiency, and engaging our employees in community activities there is much more that we can do.
The sector cannot eliminate water poverty in isolation - we need strong partnerships with advice agencies and voluntary organisations that support our customers, to promote our services and refer those who need additional support.
We've established the first national water poverty unit with National Energy Action (NEA) to establish an understanding of the issues, inform policy, be a best profile hub and to take practical action to eradicate water poverty in our areas. An early win this year was to sign 1,638 people onto our Water Without the Worry programme.