Water regulator Ofwat has published the results of its customer satisfaction and experience for water and wastewater companies in England and Wales over the last year.
The top performers when it comes to customer satisfaction are Portsmouth Water, followed by Wessex Water, Northumbrian Water, with Dŵr Cymru coming in at fourth place.
Thames Water are bottom of the table followed by Southern Water, and both will have to return customers’ money as a result.
The top performers for their developer customers are Severn Trent, Wessex Water, Portsmouth Water and Hafren Dyfrdwy, with SES Water and Yorkshire Water ranked at the bottom.
David Black, Interim Chief Executive, commented: “We recognise companies have had to overcome challenges over the last year and we are pleased to see some improvements in customer service levels.
“Customers expect their water provider to deliver good customer service and those who fail to meet those expectations need to raise their performance. We want companies to continually strive to improve the quality of their customer experience – those companies who are leading the sector have been rightly rewarded.
“We will continue to hold companies to account and expect those that are at the lower end of the league table to step up and learn from other companies in the sector to improve their performance more quickly so that customers do not lose out.”
The customer measure of experience (C-MeX) looks at residential customers’ satisfaction with their water company, while D-MeX looks at the experience for developer services customers, such as property developers requesting a new connection.
According to the regulator, those companies that did well in the league table for customer satisfaction tended to provide their customers with a ‘constant and reliable service which customers were happy with.’
For those customers that did have a query or complaint, these were resolved satisfactorily and with ‘good quality communications from staff who were knowledgeable, polite, and quick to respond.’
But at the other end of the table, Ofwat states, poorly performing companies will need to learn from those at the top – and more widely from other sectors – to improve on resolving customer issues quickly and accurately.
Ofwat continues to push companies hard to deliver the levels of service and protection for the environment that customers expect.
Both the C-Mex and D-Mex mechanisms are designed to incentivise the 17 largest water companies to provide ‘excellent’ levels of service to their customers.
These measures, together with stretching performance standards across companies in areas like supply interruptions, bursts, leakage, and increasing help for vulnerable customers will challenge those lagging behind to deliver the service customers deserve.
Where this falls short, customers will receive money back. Ofwat has published its draft decisions on the payments to be made for companies’ performance against their key delivery commitments.
The ‘C-MeX and D-MeX – 2020-21 results’ are available on the Ofwat website.