Shot of a group of young call centre agents wearing headsets and working on their computers in an office

CCW and industry regulator Ofwat have today published a joint report examining water companies’ handling of customer complaints and what steps can be taken to improve their service.

It shows that the industry could be making much more of the information it has on complaints to stamp out the root causes of customers’ frustration which are dominated by disputes over bills and charges.

Most companies resolve the majority of their complaints within two weeks but there is a disappointing lack of insight on how satisfied customers are with the outcome of their complaint.

The report – which was partly informed by a request for information made earlier in the year – forms part of wider efforts by CCW and Ofwat to ensure customers’ best interests are being put at the very heart of the services companies provide.

It sets out five recommendations for the industry to build more effective complaints practices. These are to:

  • raise their ambition on response times on written complaints
  • improve their understanding of complainant satisfaction
  • share good practice
  • make better use of data
  • improve their understanding of the experiences of complainants in vulnerable circumstances

Companies will be asked to review the findings and have until the end of March 2021 to submit an action plan to Ofwat for implementing each of the recommendations. These plans will be reviewed by Ofwat and CCW.

For more information on the report please email [email protected]

Download Putting things right: Household complaints practices in the England and Wales water industry (pdf – 2 MB)