Tackling business customers’ concerns over the accuracy of their water bills should be a priority for the retail water market, if it is to reverse falling levels of satisfaction.

CCW says marked improvements in billing are still needed after its joint business customer insight survey with Ofwat revealed satisfaction with retail water services had slipped to 73 per cent – down from 80 per cent in 2019. Issues with bills were cited as the biggest cause of dissatisfaction (65%) ahead of customer service problems (45%)and metering concerns (34%).

The findings reflect the main cause of complaints that have been escalated by business customers to CCW, which remain dominated by billing disputes

Adam Boyns, Policy Manager for CCW, said:

This has been a particularly difficult two years for businesses with 43 per cent of customers telling us in this survey they had seen a significant drop in revenue or ability to trade. The last thing they need amid that turmoil is to be worrying about whether they can trust the accuracy of their water bill.

We’re working with retailers and water companies to help drive improvements through sharing good practice on customer service and complaint handling. We also need to see a concerted effort by providers to reduce the number of unread meters and increase the frequency of meter reading.

The survey also revealed that just under 4 per cent of customers had either switched provider or attempted to renegotiate a deal with their existing one – a rate that has remained stubbornly static since the retail water market opened in England in 2017.

CCW wants to see retailers doing more to build confidence among business customers that the market has something to offer them – whether that’s help saving water and money or exceptional customer service.

CCW is also working collaboratively with the sector to strengthen customer protection and help people make a more informed choice.