Northumbrian Water Limited.
Opening the tap on digital innovation.
Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL) is on track to achieve its aim of becoming the UK’s leading water company. Now, with the Genesys Cloud CX® platform, bots triage contacts and route customers to the right advisor the first time. Employees blend calls with web messaging, Facebook and WhatsApp messages, starting conversations off the right way — guided by accurate data and knowledge articles. Since completing the first phase of its digital transformation, NWL has been ranked number one for “customer measure of experience” (C-MeX) by its regulator, Ofwat – aided by a range of KPI improvements.
Northumbrian Water Limited (NWL) operates in the northeast of England, where it’s known as Northumbrian Water, and in the southeast of England, where it’s known as Essex and Suffolk Water. With a workforce nearly 3,000 strong, NWL serves about 4.4 million customers — supplying more than 290 million gallons of water a day. It also manages sewage services while dressing serious environmental issues like leakage reduction, public health, and the cleanliness of rivers and other waterways.
Aiming to become the UK’s leading water company, NWL is passionate about service and putting customers first. It’s monitored by the regulator Ofwat, which measures its own unique version of customer experience, “customer measure of experience” (C-MeX) that offers a valuable source of income and reputational benefits. Integral to the success of NWL are an experienced pool of advisors working from home and onsite at billing and operational contact centres in Durham, Lowestoft, Washington and Hanningfield.
NWL has come a long way in a short time. Trying to build relationships was difficult with customers only tending to get in touch for one-off events like water leaks, billing disputes, bereavements or house moves.
“Service mostly took place over the phone,” said David Halliday, IS Product Manager at NWL. “Every March we’d see call volumes spike by as much as 30% from our unmetered customers querying their estimated bills. However, we had no way of deflecting calls through digital channels. Instead, we were forced to spend time and money managing disparate on-premises systems, leaving no headroom for innovation.”
Working closely with its trusted partner, Connect, NWL set about transforming its experience and moving to the cloud. “We wanted new channels like WhatsApp, Facebook and digital assistants, making it easier for customers to get the help they needed,” added Halliday. “Consolidating on a single cloud
platform also removed significant risk and expense.”
The difference since upgrading to Genesys Workforce Engagement Management has been noticeable as well.
Quality evaluations align more closely with coaching and development plans. In addition, it’s much easier to activate and de-activate skills when assigning agents to voice and digital queues.
No longer tied to standard templates, managers simply tick filters to customise reports and drill deep into information such as adherence data, which never existed before. “Other systems could take 20 minutes to generate a forecast, whereas Genesys artificial intelligence-driven forecasting is very quick,” said Steven Johnson, Workforce Optimisation Manager at NWL. “Similarly, it’s eliminated the need to constantly export data into spreadsheets.”
With policy-based automation, all calls are recorded and screened to identify topics using speech and text analytics. “Using keyword searches, we’re able to identify potentially vulnerable customers who might not be registered for priority services, or situations that require more understanding if discussing issues like credit score ratings,” said Johnson.
Meanwhile, gamification helps to keep advisors motivated and engaged. “We’re trialing gamification at present and, although it’s still early days, introducing leaderboards and medal tables certainly makes work more interesting and fun,” added Johnson.
One of the biggest wins for NWL has been the shift of managing a cloud-based contact centre platform rather than an on-premises solution. “We’ve seen a reduction in internal support and just working to keep the lights on,” said Halliday. “On our calls with Connect, we talk more about new capabilities coming instead of support tickets.”
“Other systems could take 20 minutes to generate a forecast, whereas Genesys artificial intelligence-driven forecasting is very quick. Similarly, it’s eliminated the need to constantly export data into spreadsheets.”Steven Johnson, Workforce Optimization Manager
Northumbrian Water Limited
NWL is working on several new initiatives. It plans to fully deploy Genesys quality management and leverage Agent Assist to reduce aftercall work through automatic call summarisation powered by Genesys AI.
“The water sector is very risk-averse, and rightly so in some key areas, but there are other parts of our business where we’re learning to take more risks through trying new approaches,” concluded Nigel Watson, CIO at NWL. “We’ll analyse what went well, what didn’t go well, and constantly improve and innovate. This approach helps us progress and has delivered great results.”
We’re Connect, a global business communications expert with over 30 years’ experience. We have a clear and simple purpose; to help people communicate better. We make this happen by powering frictionless journeys and providing secure networks that benefit organisations, their people and their customers, building towards a brighter, more sustainable future for all three. By leveraging our expertise in CX and automation, we orchestrate connected experiences. And while we are trusted by many technology vendors, we’re independent of all of them, enabling us to make the complex simple. www.weconnect.tech
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