Water retailer Pennon Water Services has been named as a finalist in the prestigious Utility Week Stars Awards.
The firm, which trades regionally as South West Water Business, has been shortlisted in the Culture Change Champion category, which recognises high standards of innovation and customer service across the utility sector.
Since 2017, Pennon Water Services has provided water and waste water services to businesses, charities and public sector organisations. PWS helps companies to save money and water by understanding their water usage better, identifying leaks, simplifying billing and advising them on how to use water more efficiently.
The company’s award entry focused on the role of its 43-strong Retail Service Centre team and how manager Gareth Evans has taken a different approach in order to put genuine customer service at the heart of the business – rather than conventional call handling targets.
Gareth has recruited staff from a broad range of backgrounds that focus on the customer including a DJ and a fruit and veg seller, rather than the call centre norm of only hiring people with direct, previous contact centre experience. This has resulted in a team with a genuine enthusiasm for helping customers – rather than an emphasis on working from a script.
New staff are given more training than the industry standard so they are confident and knowledgeable when it comes to handling customer calls. There is also a strong emphasis on effective communication and feedback between staff and senior managers. This has helped PWS to achieve a customer satisfaction rating of 96 per cent for staff service and 95 per cent customer satisfaction for staff knowledge – higher than the industry average. It has also resulted in a higher than average level of staff retention.
Retail Service Centre manager Gareth Evans said: “Right from the start, we have tried to do things differently and to set up a service centre that genuinely puts customer satisfaction first. We call our team members ‘Ninjas’ because they have a special mix of skills and an extraordinary approach to customer service. I’m so pleased for the team that their efforts have been recognised.”
Pennon Water Services Director Richard Stanbrook added: “This is great news and is a reflection of the hard work that Gareth and the team have put into setting up the Retail Service Centre. PWS is a retailer with a clear focus on what is important for our customers and our excellence in customer service is something that sets us apart from our competitors.”
The awards ceremony will be held in Manchester on June 29.
L-R Ryan Hirst (Billing Supervisor) Jess Hill (Retail Service Centre Supervisor, Gareth Evans (Retail Service Centre Manager), Jasmin Jones (Retail Service Centre Supervisor) and Lewis Orr (Retail Service Centre Supervisor)