Customer feedback helps us improve our day-to-day services and plan future investment.
Customer views have helped shape our business plan
We’ve submitted our business plan for 2025-30 to Ofwat. Our plan incorporates customer views on the services we provide and their priorities for the business. Thank you to the thousands of customers that have engaged with us in projects over the past couple of years and given their feedback on our proposals. This has all helped shape our plan.
We developed our business plan in stages:
Firstly, we refreshed our overarching purpose and identified, through co-design with customers, our long-term priority outcomes to update our strategic direction and social purpose.
We then developed our draft drainage and wastewater management plan (DWMP), draft regional water resources plan and draft water resources management plan (WRMP), including a looking at specific behaviours associated with garden water use.
The next step was to begin exploring customer willingness to pay for certain outcomes. For example, this included looking specifically at willingness to pay relating to customers’ preferences to achieve sustainable abstraction.These insight projects, along with customer views from continuous engagement sources (such as our ongoing customer research tracker), helped us refine proposals ahead of submission deadlines for our revised DWMP and WRMP.
To prepare for our business plan submission, we carried out research to explore customer support for additional social tariff cross subsidy. We tested our plan through 10 in-person public events across our region and an online stakeholder event followed by our online Your Water Your Say session.
Our final bespoke insight project, the affordability and acceptability testing of our plan, was carried out in spring/summer 2023.
All our research projects and other sources of continuous insight were brought together for our business plan submission.
Individual research projects were designed to meet Ofwat's and CCW's expectations and our own for high quality research and engagement.
A recent output from our insight programme is a study of customers' willingness to contribute to social tariffs through their water bills. The research was undertaken in collaboration with Bristol Water and Bournemouth Water by DJS Research. Almost three-quarters of customers are willing to contribute towards additional cross-subsidy for social tariffs for the period 2025-30, however, customers do express concerns around the cost of living and bill affordability both now and in the future.
Our continuous tracker survey that has been running for over a decade engages with 1,000 people a year measuring and monitoring household customer views in relation to overall service and value for money.
It also helps identify and monitor customer priorities and awareness of our outbound communications and services.
Hot topics are explored such as attitudes to water saving, smart metering and storm overflows.
Bespoke research projects develop our understanding of how customers use water and their attitudes towards water saving.
In summer 2021 we collaborated with four water companies on a garden water use project with Blue Marble. The novel project used stop-motion cameras to record actual garden behaviours.
Participants were surprised with how much water certain garden activities used. Most had low awareness of water resource challenges, what they could do differently to reduce their use and perceived that reducing use may be more time consuming or reduce their enjoyment of their garden.
In 2022 we undertook a deep dive into customer views on water efficiency and smart metering working with Blue Marble. This included engagement with a group of households for over eight months as they tried different ways to reduce water use and explored the motivators and barriers to changing their behaviours. This project identified the power of setting out the financial benefits of water saving particularly in relation to water use and showering. This insight was used to help shape our water saving communication messages for autumn and winter 2022-23.
Future customer engagement
Our Young People’s Panel (YPP) brings together a group of around 20 to 30 future bill payers each autumn to work on a real business challenge and participate in focus groups and mini-tasks on ‘hot topics’ so we gain insight into their views.
In 2021 the core task focussed on the customer onboarding journey for a smart meter roll out.
In February and March 2023 we held a series of 'Your say, your future' events in towns across our region.
The events gave customers the chance to find out more about our plans to improve our water and sewerage services, while also protecting and enhancing the environment.
We're combining what we learned with other feedback from customers and stakeholders to help us finalise our Business plan 2025 - 2030 which will be ready to submit in October.
Your water, your say event
In April 2023 we held an online consultation event which gave customers and stakeholders another chance to hear how the business plan had developed and have their say. You can read more on our Business Plan 2025-30 page.
The event involved a presentation by Group Chief Executive Colin Skellett, followed by a question and answer session covering a wide range of themes.
We've used feedback from the session to help us finalise our business plan.
Customer Research documents
Research reports of the findings from all our insight projects including the questionnaires, discussion guides and stimulus materials.