New guidance released to help the water sector put customers first

19th July 2023

Building trust and putting customers first is the focus of new guidance being published by the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), as part of wider efforts to transform the culture of the water industry.

The CCW is asking water companies to embrace the challenge of creating a culture that is focused on people and strengthening relationships with their customers.

The guidance summarises key insights aiming to provide practical tools and actionable recommendations to build a customer-centric culture. It shows that organisations that successfully develop such a culture see better outcomes for their employees and customers.

CCW believes transforming company culture is imperative if the water sector is to turnaround falling levels of trust and negative perceptions of its handing of issues like the environment. Recent research by CCW found that fewer than half of people (43%) trust water companies to protect and enhance the environment.

Dr Mike Keil, Senior Director of Policy, Research, and Campaigning at CCW, said “Against a backdrop of negative headlines and falling customer trust, the industry faces significant challenges. There is a real opportunity for water companies to change the current nature of their relationship with customers to develop a customer-centric culture and by doing so be better placed to tackle the challenges they face.”

“We hope that this guide will be a catalyst to help water companies to become leaders in putting customers first and we look forward to working with companies to help facilitate this.”

The guidance highlights that the water sector operates within two unique settings when it comes to building a customer-centric culture. Firstly, household customers have no choice about their supplier and secondly, they are not simply end-users of water. They are an important part of the water cycle, and their behaviours play a crucial role in ensuring future water sustainability. Therefore, gaining and keeping customers’ trust and active engagement is essential for the sector to meet future challenges.

This report identifies the best practices and traits exhibited by organisations that have successful customer-centric cultures. It then looks at how companies can build and shape, measure and then track their customer-centric cultures.

The guidance will be published alongside a more detailed report, which explores the topic in more depth. The workshop and guide forms part of CCW’s longer-term commitment to support companies in improving their relationship with customers and what they deliver for them.