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Ofwat is consulting on plans to introduce a new customer-focused licence condition for all water companies, which will set out the principles they must follow in delivering their services to customers and dealing with problems when they arise. This will make customer service expectations clearer for water/wastewater companies and importantly, for their customers too. The licence condition will be designed to reflect customers’ needs, and also offer water suppliers the flexibility to innovate in their service delivery.

We believe it is vital that the new licence condition is shaped by customer views and expectations in terms of the service they receive from their water companies. With that in mind we commissioned this research (jointly with Ofwat) to ensure we have a clear and up to date understanding of what is important to water customers and what they expect the new licence condition to deliver.

Key findings

Customers expect their water company to:

  • Get the basics right and resolve issues quickly when they go wrong.
  • Take responsibility when there is a problem and make restitution where appropriate
  • Learn lessons from incidents and implement best practice when responding to future incidents, including seeking customer feedback.

Customers want:

  • Clear, accurate, regular communications on issues including billing and water efficiency
  • The ability to contact their water company quickly and easily when they have an issue or query and for the problem resolved efficiently and professionally.
  • The needs of customers in vulnerable circumstances to be identified and met
  • Companies should offer a range of communication channels to meet the differing needs of customers
  • There is a preference for any guidance on meeting the new licence to be specific without being restrictive; giving water companies a clear indication of what’s expected and how to deliver it.
  • We will use the findings of the research as we help Ofwat in the development of the licence condition and the guidance documents which are subsequently developed to support it.
Download Customer Licence Condition research (pdf – 1 MB)