Improving billing and customer service at major water utility results in customer service incentive

Improved

Customer service by automated billing

Streamlined

Cash flow through automation

Company Overview

Anglian Water, which employs 5,000 people across the UK, provides regulated water, wastewater, and environmental services to more than six million residential, commercial, and industrial customers. It received numerous accolades including the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2020 and was awarded highest ranking by water industry regulator Ofwat.

Business Challenge

Anglian Water produces 16,000 invoices each day. The company was looking to improve customer service while normalizing its billing workload in order to smooth cash flow. Its goal was to rank first in the Ofwat water regulator service incentive mechanism (SIM) program, which resulted in securing a large financial incentive.

SIM encourages water suppliers to improve customer service by randomly surveying customers about service delivery and then placing survey scores in a league table that enables customers to compare water company performance. Ofwat rewards each company in the league table with a share of a financial incentive of as much as £50 million to maintain and improve its services.

However, erratic customer service in Anglian Water’s billing operations were reducing its chances of winning the incentive. The company experienced problems with its overnight billing processes two or three times a month.

Chris Waterfield, Business Systems Manager, Anglian Water, says “We had no reliable, real-time way to monitor errors. We weren’t informed of any problems until the following morning when it was too late.”

Beyond the operational issues caused by the failures, the errors also resulted in excessive call center volume from unhappy affected customers.

Anglian Water had two less-than-satisfactory options for responding to these problems:

  • Repeat the process – Re-running processes required time-consuming manual effort, often resulting in more errors, and slowing daily operations across other key systems.
  • Discard the failed operation – Pushing out the activity to the next day meant that systems were out-of-date for 24 hours and doubled the activities necessary the following day. With around 30,000 activities altogether, this strained the entire operation.

Solution

Anglian Water turned to Redwood to automate and streamline its billing operations, monitor and visualize processes, as well as orchestrate processes across hybrid environments.

Redwood provides dashboards that display the real time status of every business process in a visual manner and provides alerts and notifications when something goes wrong. A predictive SLA notifies Anglian of any errors before deadlines are missed so they can be resolved before they impact service.

Now, instead of re-running or discarding the entire billing process when errors are detected in data, the individual records with problems can be logged for correction without halting the rest of the billing run.

Redwood orchestrates these processes and data across on-premises, cloud, and containerized environments, seamlessly coordinating and integrating legacy applications, data, OS activity and web API interactions to integrate with any system, application, and technology.

Results

Consistent call center volumes and up-to-date billing information now make it easier for Anglian Water to spread out its workload, improve customer service, and ensure a regular cash flow. The company also has the visibility necessary to instantly tackle any errors.

Anglian Water is now ranked number one on the Ofwat SIM league table and has secured a significant proportion of the SIM £50 million financial incentive to improve customer service. “It now doesn’t matter when Ofwat performs a sample survey since all our call centers deliver superior service,” says Waterfield. “Now that we’re at the top of the SIM league table, we have a competitive advantage that enables us to continue to grow our business and further improve service.”

With Redwood, we achieved immediate visibility into any problems that arise so we can rapidly take corrective action. Since implementation, we’ve had no operational overruns." Chris Waterfield, Business Systems Manager, Anglian Water

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