Listening to our customers

Customer Challenge Group & YourVoice customer and stakeholder panel

“YourVoice” is the name of our panel which has replaced the Customer Challenge Group and whose purpose is to help ensure we perform well in delivering our five-year business plan commitments. Its members include independent customer and business representatives, quality and environmental regulators. To find out more please click here.

Customer Engagement

We have engaged extensively with customers and other stakeholders to understand their views and priorities, and to help develop our business plan for 2015-20. Our engagement programme has comprised the following:

  • Specific customer research to gain insights about customers’ attitudes, expectations and priorities.       
  • Extensive ongoing business as usual customer research, coupled with ‘one off’ research on particular topics, such as attitudes to climate change
  • Consultation and engagement with customers and stakeholders to complement the research activity and provide further insight on attitudes and priorities.

We use a variety of methods to capture opinions across representative samples of the customer database. This has included focus groups, face-to-face in-home, telephone and online survey approaches.

The research is designed so that we could establish the priorities of different customer groups - for example, domestic, business and ‘hard to reach’ customers. Segmentation criteria such as age, gender, income, size of water bill, geographical location, metered or unmetered water supplies are used to help understand the insight we receive.

Some examples of ongoing customer engagement projects include:

Monthly customer experience research

Each month we commission an independent research agency to contact 500 businesses and householders who have contacted us to understand how they rate their experience, how satisfied they are and what would make it better. This gives us great insight into how to make improvements in our customer service whether it’s how we deal with water supply problems, bill payments or other enquiries.

Post construction questionnaires

When we reach the end of construction and maintenance schemes we ask customers in the area a number of questions about their experience. These range from helpfulness of our employees on site to how well customers were kept informed of how our works would affect them. We use the results to monitor how teams and processes are working, as well as take on board customers' ideas for improvements.

Brand tracking

We monitor how people view United Utilities in the North West because we want to know how we measure up against other service providers in our region. As well as looking at the reasons behind people's views on us, we also look at how memorable our customer campaigns are to see if we are effective in getting out some of our public service messages.

Willingness to pay research

We periodically commission research to understand what our customers value the most from the services we provide – whether that’s reduced flooding, improving the quality of tap water, investing in renewable energy to power our treatment works, or improving the quality of bathing waters and beaches.

This research is a pivotal component to help us identify customer’s preferences for us to prioritise in our business plan.

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